TFTD modding questions and thoughts on a mod


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#1 galwenlestat

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 02:39 AM

ok so i have been researching graphic editing in ufo and tftd and i keep running into the unable to inject images into pck files problem. so i was wondering has any progress been made into getting a working application to do this? i don't care about how aesthetically pleasing it is just that it can extract the images from all of the obj.pck packs and then after editing them inject them back in so that they function. (by all the obj.pck file i mean the bigobj.pck,groundobj.pck and handobj.pck)

i have found the information i needed to edit the ufopedia, can't remember the exact post but im using notepad on the computer at work to do the editing.(for some unknown reason my notepad opens the englang.dat file in chinese, and the wierd thing is windows vista doesn't even have asian text support files yet :bleh: ) so thank you whoever said to use notepad, sory i can't give you username credit. and i have the tools to edit the stats on all the items ingame so far except the craft ammo stats (which only related to the begining craft gas cannon so if i can't do it i'll figure out something.

so now onto my thoughts on a mod.
I think it's about time that tftd became a sequal to ufo, not just a game that follows after in the timeline but ignores everthing that happened in ufo,except for the occasional mention of sectoids and such in the ufopedia. and before i get someone complaining about "didn't you read the history insert in xcom interceptor that expalins why.... I would like to say that i only yesterday even found out about said insert and got to read it and im sorry but to me it just screams STBS I mean come on you expect me to believe that in 40 years no research has been done into upgrading the laser weapons, even after the elerium was all used up. or even for that matter an upgrade to "normal" weapons. so I thought I would atempt to chance a few things to make tftd seem more like the sequal it should have always been and less like the cross-dressing brother you avoid at family reunions (sorry i do love the game it is just ufo in diffrent cloths) so here are my ideas plz give me feedback.

    1. change the gauss weapons to rainbow lasers (by modulating the beam color it allows the laser to be used under-water and on-land. on a side note i heard that you can't remove the ammo to give a weapon unlimited ammo in tftd, if this is the case then i will just have to modify the ammo to become focusing lenses that eithor give you unlimited ammo or at the very least such an excesive amount of ammo that it might as well be unlimited.

    2. alien alloys WTF happened to them i mean we learned how to make them in ufo but are apparently using steel again in tftd until we get aqua-plastics? so who's the moron who hit the delete key on the file in the ufopedia that contained the compusition on the alloy? but any way, mainly I plan to modify the begining armor of both your soldiers and you ships (not much, no elerium powered flight suits, but start with the equalivent to the old combat armor you made out of alien alloys (which means i may have to balance the other armors a little better but no big deal there I love running mathamatical equations) and then change those lame diving suits to a mroe fitting xcom combat armor.

    3. you would think that after the first war that when xcom says it is recuiting the "best of the best" from militaries of the world they would mean it, i mean how can you truly say that the best men for the job can't even hit the broad side of a barn with an aimed shot let alone a humanoid shape at less then 50 yards. I mean who trains them to shoot a pascifist? so rebalance the begining stats of all agents you hire (or at least the 8 you start with) so they seem more like military and less like saturday morning warriors.

those are the biggest things i want to implement in this mod, im sure more will come to mind latter and I will probly add more after I get these in place and see things I would like to changed. any help on this is welcome, i do have some programming exp. and have done "in-house" mods on a few games over the last 10 yrs but nothing worth uploading to a site eithor because it had already been done or because it was just a small thing i wanted to see if i could do. anyone wishing to offer advice or help of any kind can alst email me here.

#2 Hobbes

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:51 AM

View Postgalwenlestat, on 4th April 2007, 3:39am, said:

ok so i have been researching graphic editing in ufo and tftd and i keep running into the unable to inject images into pck files problem. so i was wondering has any progress been made into getting a working application to do this? i don't care about how aesthetically pleasing it is just that it can extract the images from all of the obj.pck packs and then after editing them inject them back in so that they function. (by all the obj.pck file i mean the bigobj.pck,groundobj.pck and handobj.pck)

Have you tried PCKView?
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#3 galwenlestat

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:57 AM

View PostHobbes, on 4th April 2007, 4:51am, said:

View Postgalwenlestat, on 4th April 2007, 3:39am, said:

ok so i have been researching graphic editing in ufo and tftd and i keep running into the unable to inject images into pck files problem. so i was wondering has any progress been made into getting a working application to do this? i don't care about how aesthetically pleasing it is just that it can extract the images from all of the obj.pck packs and then after editing them inject them back in so that they function. (by all the obj.pck file i mean the bigobj.pck,groundobj.pck and handobj.pck)

Have you tried PCKView?

i have been using it however from eveything i have read on here you can't use it to put the pictures back into the pck files. (or atleast that was my understanding of it) because i plan on editing the big, hand, and ground pck packs and last i saw pckview couldn't inject the new images correctly.

#4 Zombie

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:05 AM

Concerning the pck files, Bomb Bloke created an application to convert pcks to gifs which is quite handy. You can download it from our files section.

Craft weapons? See this post.

View Postgalwenlestat, on 3rd April 2007, 9:39pm, said:

1. change the gauss weapons to rainbow lasers (by modulating the beam color it allows the laser to be used under-water and on-land. on a side note i heard that you can't remove the ammo to give a weapon unlimited ammo in tftd, if this is the case then i will just have to modify the ammo to become focusing lenses that eithor give you unlimited ammo or at the very least such an excesive amount of ammo that it might as well be unlimited.
Sure, you can make tftd weapons ammo-less. I just tried it out and it works fine. The X-COM Wiki's OBDATA.DAT page is a great place to find out all about weapons/items. :bleh:

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#5 galwenlestat

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:28 AM

View PostZombie, on 4th April 2007, 5:05am, said:

Concerning the pck files, Bomb Bloke created an application to convert pcks to gifs which is quite handy. You can download it from our files section.

Craft weapons? See this post.


Sure, you can make tftd weapons ammo-less. I just tried it out and it works fine. The X-COM Wiki's OBDATA.DAT page is a great place to find out all about weapons/items. :bleh:

- Zombie
thanks i missed that app on my earlier searches, I'll give it a try tomorrow and hope it works. as for the ammo thing i was pretty sure that you could make soldier weapons have unlimited ammo but i had read on one of the posts that the craft weapons couldn't be made to have unlimited ammo so i wasn't sure if the same was true for soldier weapons.

btw as a side note (bomb bloke i hope you see this) is there a 2xsai patch\mod for those of us who are lucky enough to have the old dos versions of ufo and tftd (in fact i have unpatched versions of both, except it's EU not ufo in my case) or do i have to wait around until someone has patched the CE version to be able to run on windows vista?

#6 Zombie

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:45 AM

View Postgalwenlestat, on 4th April 2007, 12:28am, said:

thanks i missed that app on my earlier searches, I'll give it a try tomorrow and hope it works. as for the ammo thing i was pretty sure that you could make soldier weapons have unlimited ammo but i had read on one of the posts that the craft weapons couldn't be made to have unlimited ammo so i wasn't sure if the same was true for soldier weapons.
While true that the craft weapons can't have unlimited ammo like hand-held weapons, the ammo quantity is defined as a 2-byte value in the executable. Thus the max is 65,535. That's darn near unlimited in my book. :D

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#7 galwenlestat

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 01:11 PM

Quote

While true that the craft weapons can't have unlimited ammo like hand-held weapons, the ammo quantity is defined as a 2-byte value in the executable. Thus the max is 65,535. That's darn near unlimited in my book. :D

- Zombie
i would call that unlimited i don't think you are going to go through 65k bullets for any weapon in one combat. but then that brings me to the problem of editing the  ammo for the gauss cannon, because i personally don't want to build said 65k bullets everytime i want to go and intercept a ufo. that definetly mean more research on my part (dont have a progy to edit craft ammo, or production costs so back to good old hex-editing) :D im already getting flooded with memories.

but any way, i have to say you guys are awsome, i have tried to get help modding games before and most places think that you have to know the hex offsets by heart and refuse to help you on the small stuff (graphics, stats, ect.) because it is below them. so thanks for your help! now how does the idea for the mod sound, is it something others on here would like to try? and are there any ideas that would make it better?

#8 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 01:14 PM

As I understand it, there's a build of DosBox out there somewhere with the scaler features built in. That's the only method I can think of for introducing them to the original versions of the games.

My PCK converter remains untested on TFTD data files. On some of them it should work, on some it will not - I simply never added support for them. I'm pretty sure you should be ok as far as equipment sprites are concerned though, as I see no reason why they should deviate from the UFO format. I have Daishiva (the author of PCKView) to thank for the file format information.
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#9 galwenlestat

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 01:21 PM

View PostBomb Bloke, on 4th April 2007, 1:14pm, said:

My PCK converter remains untested on TFTD data files. On some of them it should work, on some it will not - I simply never added support for them. I'm pretty sure you should be ok as far as equipment sprites are concerned though, as I see no reason why they should deviate from the UFO format. I have Daishiva (the author of PCKView) to thank for the file format information.

cool inbetween your program and the file format data i should be more then able to edit the sprites I need. hopefully yours will handle it without much fuss and if i get completly stuck i know i can get help on here, so thanks again.

#10 Zombie

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 05:12 AM

View Postgalwenlestat, on 4th April 2007, 8:11am, said:

i would call that unlimited i don't think you are going to go through 65k bullets for any weapon in one combat. but then that brings me to the problem of editing the  ammo for the gauss cannon, because i personally don't want to build said 65k bullets everytime i want to go and intercept a ufo. that definetly mean more research on my part (dont have a progy to edit craft ammo, or production costs so back to good old hex-editing) :D im already getting flooded with memories.
Well, we could always "tweak" the gauss cannon's stats to overcome the unlimited ammo idea. Increase the damage so you do not need as many shots. Or edit the accuracy from 35% to 70% like X-COM's Laser Cannon. If you don't like that, how about making the gauss cannons ammo purchasable? That's something to consider and is easily edited. I always felt the Gauss line of technology was a real let-down after enjoying laser tech in the original game. Doing something to make them more enjoyable would be a plus (read: unlimited ammo and give the heavy gauss an auto-shot). :D

Have you looked at the HackerTools page on the X-COM Wiki? It gives a good primer on how to use MS-Edit to edit values in the game. MS-Edit is a great tool, is easy to learn and is totally free. I use it all the time to edit things.

View Postgalwenlestat, on 4th April 2007, 8:11am, said:

but any way, i have to say you guys are awsome, i have tried to get help modding games before and most places think that you have to know the hex offsets by heart and refuse to help you on the small stuff (graphics, stats, ect.) because it is below them. so thanks for your help! now how does the idea for the mod sound, is it something others on here would like to try? and are there any ideas that would make it better?
I think you'll find the X-COM community much different than other online communities. The game series has a loyal following and for that reason we want to help in order to make a loyal follower out of you too. Heh, everyone started at the bottom rung of the ladder at one time. Most of us here do not forget this and are more than happy to lend a hand where ever possible.

The one thing I would wish for in a mod is the ability to use a bladed weapon of some sort right from the get-go. Can't tell you how many times I ran up against Lobstermen and had nothing powerful enough to kill them properly. An earth-based bladed weapon would alleviate the long delay in this tech line and make it easier (albeit somewhat) to kill Lobbie men early on.

Editing the starting stats of the humans just isn't possible right now as those values haven't been found in the executable yet. I'm still looking though. One of these days I'm hoping to strike it rich and find these stats as it has been bothering me for a very long time. :)

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#11 NKF

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 08:43 AM

The closest thing would probably be to turn the thermal tazer into a stabbing stick of some sort (it's got the melee attack command assigned to it) and perhaps turn some other unlucky rarely used weapon into a "balanced" stun device.

But I don't particularly like that idea myself. I like to keep the weapons as plain vanilla as possible.

Hmm. Wonder where the game keeps its "underwater only" flags? The melee commands and other weapon variables such as the bullet sprite may be lumped near each other. Perhaps the sprite index number may be a valuable reference point to look for.

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#12 galwenlestat

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:46 PM

i'll have to look into the melee weapon tonight, haven't really had time the last few days to break into code. as far as the starting stats for the soldiers, i really don't think your going to find a set "number set" anywhere because they have a random seed for all the stats, so more likely you would be looking for an aguation that the game uses to figure out what to give "Bob" when you hire him. as to the underwater only tag, maybe you could duplicate all the stats of weapon (i want to say gas cannon but it has been a while sense the last time i played tftd) onto say the pistol, because we know it works and then do a hex compare on the two entries and the only thing left would be idflags and the use flags, if they are even stored in obj.dat. just a thought i'll look into it more tonight.

#13 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 01:21 AM

The formulas for the starting stats are simple enough:

<minimum starting stat> + RND * <range>

If you know all the possible values for each stat, you just have to look for the minimum values and the values representing the ranges. Easy peasy.
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#14 NKF

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 02:39 AM

Soldier stats? Actually I was more referring to the fixed weapon variables that're somewhere in the main executable that aren't stored in obdata.dat. I just meant that the item's 'bullet' sprite index may be of some help in locating it in the executable. My guess is that it would probably be lumped together with other flags that tell the game to enable other unique menu commands like melee, probe and the MC disrupter commands for particular items.

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