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Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Non-toolset utilities for the ME Trilogy developed by community coders. Note: Restricted to coder- or modder-oriented tools. User-oriented tools belong where they can be adequately supported (e.g., Nexusmods).

Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby aquadran » 22 Oct 2016, 08:39

Hi all,

In past I was involved in ME2 and ME1 DLC texture replacement improvements.
At some point I reach point I got idea to write something independent with different goals and learn engine in process.
So I started coding from scratch tool for texture replacement.
Now after a while :) I reach point where tool is enough stable and properly working.

MassEffectModder not provide compatibility with ME3Explorer on some features.

Regarding texture replacements you will take benefits over ME3Explorer:
- A little better texture mapping while initial scan.
- Textures are replaced in more correct way.
- Faster
For ME1,ME2 benefits:
- PCCs are compressed back after texture replacement.
- You can re-compress PCCs files from LZO2 to Zlib to save disk space when you finish modding.
- Textures are compressed back with Zlib instead LZO2, better compression.

I wanted share this with community.

BTW: I have converted non texture mod (ME2 mini games cheat) which can be applied from tool menu.

You can find MassEffectModder here:
https://github.com/MassEffectModder/MassEffectModder
https://github.com/MassEffectModder/Mas ... r/releases

Guide on Wiki: https://github.com/MassEffectModder/Mas ... odder/wiki

To run 64 bit Windows is required.
For heavy texture replacement like all texture mods, SSD drive and enough of RAM is recommended, I have 8GB.
Last edited by aquadran on 03 Dec 2016, 15:18, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby KFreon » 22 Oct 2016, 09:43

Cool. I'll have to have a look. Glad someone's still looking at texture stuff :) Shame the tools aren't compatible though :(
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby aquadran » 22 Oct 2016, 10:06

KFreon wrote:Shame the tools aren't compatible though :(


Problem looks in mods, something is done different way comparable to vanilia game data. When I tried include ME3 DLC mods for texture replacements game crashed while using that parts. Issue may came from different way of replacement of textures or differences in saved PCC data in DLC mods.

Of course things could be improved, but right now my main goals for that tool was reached :) All mods texture replacements with disk space saving.

Update:
Regarding compatibility:
- Can load ME3Explorer textures mods as legacy, it match texture also.
You can save as MassEffectModder compatible mod which is compressed.
You can extarct to indiviual files as matched textures.
- Can load TPF files with limited matched textures process.
You can also save and extract textures.
- Can apply non textures mods
Can load ME3Explorer mods related Export Data as replacement
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby CreeperLava » 22 Oct 2016, 14:39

It's always nice to have more options, although it will take a lot to convince me to switch to another texture installation tool, especially with the recent speed improvements to ME3Explorer.

I'm interested in "Textures are replaced in more correct way." What do you mean by that, exactly ? Does it have anything to do with texturegroups ? Could it possibly fix the infamous "aquarium" texture glitches ?
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby aquadran » 22 Oct 2016, 18:24

CreeperLava wrote:It's always nice to have more options, although it will take a lot to convince me to switch to another texture installation tool, especially with the recent speed improvements to ME3Explorer.

I'm interested in "Textures are replaced in more correct way." What do you mean by that, exactly ? Does it have anything to do with texturegroups ? Could it possibly fix the infamous "aquarium" texture glitches ?


I'm not convincing anyone :) Just option.
Tool doesn't change texture groups for textures. It also provide remove all null pointers from textures which is required after changing max resulution for texture groups.

Steps looks like:
- update texture groups config for max 4096 - one time
- scan all game data - one time
- remove null pointers - one time
- apply texture mod or individual textures

I'm not familiar of any issues on this link you mention while playing ME3.
I would have to check.

Regarding speed you have to compare your self, I can not say, last time I used ME3explorer for textures it was 2 years ago :)
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby CreeperLava » 22 Oct 2016, 20:17

So, the original texturegroups are kept, even for modded textures ? That's pretty nice. I'll try to check whether "aquarium" glitches are also present with your tool, but since you know your program infinitely better than I do, feel free to try as well :).
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby aquadran » 23 Oct 2016, 06:59

Changing texture groups leads to situation you have to add new name in PCC table names. If you add new name that means to move names table to end of PCC file, which forcing ME1/ME2 PCC file to be uncompressed. So my goal was to avoid it. So option is to use original texture groups.
However if you increase max resolution for texture groups, that create another issue, null pointers. So to avoid it you need remove them from all texture groups which are affected. Since tool change all groups, it remove all null pointers from game data.
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby aquadran » 23 Oct 2016, 08:26

CreeperLava wrote:So, the original texturegroups are kept, even for modded textures ? That's pretty nice. I'll try to check whether "aquarium" glitches are also present with your tool, but since you know your program infinitely better than I do, feel free to try as well :).


I just checked, no "aquarium" issue.
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby CreeperLava » 23 Oct 2016, 09:08

Wow, now I'm impressed. Not having these glitches anymore removes the need for Texmod altogether, which is quite valuable (I'm thinking of this in relation with my mod, ALOT). However, the incompatibility with ME3Explorer and lack of DLC mod support makes it far from ideal to use for "casual" users.

Ideally, I would love to have the advantages of your texture replacement method, while keeping ME3Explorer compatibility (incl the tree). ie is it possible to merge your method with ME3Explorer/replace the existing one ? Not sure if that's at all possible, or if that's something you even want ?

Side question, will you release a binaries download in the future ? Most people don't have VS installed^^.
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Re: Alternate texture replacement tool - MassEffectModder

Postby aquadran » 23 Oct 2016, 10:23

Assuming we talk only about ME3 which is actually real compatibilty issue.
Maybe such temporary solution:
Prepare scan on unmodified game data without any mods with both tools.
Replace textures on all non original DLCs (if needed)
Replace textures on unmodified game data with MassEffectModder.
Add modified non original DLCs.

Hopefully null pointers issue not come with that DLC's
I have two non-original mods added after replaced textures, but they are not endings mods.

Preferable would be if ME3explorer able to remove all null pointers and not changing group textures.
This can be done. Side effect is additional step needed: is all game data needs to be processed like in MassEffectModder.

I'm not familiar with current code base, a lot was changed, better KFreon would look into.

Sure, I can make release binary.

BTW. While trying load aquarium.tpf file I noticed that tool actually not support password correctly. It seems I tried so far TPF files without password :) I need to fix that.
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