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Help Index of Forum Resources

Dedicated area for content modders to help each other with technical aspects of modding the Mass Effect Trilogy.

Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby giftfish » 03 Sep 2013, 17:34

Why this post? Click the spoiler.

Spoiler:
Something I put together for the ThaneMOD forums was a post of links for all sorts of stuff that would be relevant to our mod. To do this, basically I took several hours and search through these forums and the wiki, and then organized everything by topic. Ren asked me if I would re-post it here. I agreed, but thought I'd do more of a thorough search and pull out as many of the often referenced posts I could. Obviously, this will not include every post on the site, as it shouldn't.

If you see something incorrect, or any glaring omissions, please let me know. I'll do my best to keep the post updated and current. Also, if I link something that is deprecated (which isn't always obvious to us less-technically-inclined folks, lol), please let me know and point me to the new information so I can set up a new link. I can then put in a brief note as to what is the most up-to-date procedure -- ideally, this information would be in the wiki, and I can just point people there.

In regards to the wiki, please feel free to duplicate any/all of this information over there. The intent of this post isn't to take the place of the wiki (it shouldn't, and Ren and I discussed this a bit), but it could be of aid to quickly locate a bunch of different items that might still need to be added to the wiki.

While working on ThaneMOD, our group has been corresponding with Dusty Evermann at BW, so I've placed his responses to our requests for help/information in their relevant sections within spoilers. This way they are easily avoided unless readers are curious.

WHERE IS THE FRACKING EDIT BUTTON?
Look here

BASIC ME3EXPLORER RESOURCES
ME3 Explorer SourceForge Page
Tutorial: Using the SVN version on ME3Explorer
ME3Explorer Wiki
Thread of Useful Links
ME3Explorer Update Notes
ME3Explorer News Thread (read about contents of new releases, etc)
Guidelines for Requesting a Mod on ME3Explorer

BASIC MODDING GUIDANCE
How to install PCC mods
Setting up ME3Explorer on Otte's blog or on ME3Explorer

UTILITIES
See also the "Thread of Useful Links" in the Basic ME3Explorer Resources Section
DLC Patcher
Fog.Gene's Mod Manager
Alternative ME3 Texture Explorer by Amarok
ModMaker File Compilation
TPFExtract Download Link (saltisgood built another version of this, which is now integrated into ME3Explorer)
KFreon's TPF Tool
Tutorial: Using Texplorer
Amarok's DDS to BMP Converter

PCCs , TOC.bin, File Finding, Misc
Game Files Loaded at Startup
50+ Saves & Unlocking the Console
Unlocking the Console
Tocbin Reading
Tutorial: ToCBin Updating
Tutorial: Finding the Right Files
Tutorial: File Finding and Understanding
Tutorial: Hooking
ME30TH Binary

PCC Comparison Mod
Repacking .PCCs
Remove Entries from .PCCs
Change .PCC Object Class

CONDITIONALS, BOOLS, PLOT
ME3 Plot Database (from mnn)
Inquiring's Bools for ME1, ME2, ME3
ME2 Plot Bools
Using the Plot Bool DB in ME3Explorer

Editing Conditionals
Adding New Conditionals

COALESCED EDITING
Modding the ME3 Digital Deluxe Edition
Research on the Spacebar
Setting Henchman (squadmate) Weapons
Adding DLC Weapons
Altering Weapon Lists
Editing Base Class Powers
Tutorial: Editing DLC Coalesced

MODELS, MESHS, ANIMATIONS
Research on Skeletal Meshes
WV's Tutorial on Mesh/Texture Replacement with ME3Explorer and UDK
Viewing and Editing Meshes
Tutorial on Static Mesh Editing
More on editing/modding meshes
Static Mesh Mega Tutorial
Skeletal Mesh Tutorial (scope on Avenger)
Tutorial: ME3 Import into 3DSMax and UDK
Porting Hairstyles using 3DSMax

Better ActorX Importer Script
Swapping NPCs at the Memorial Wall
More Info on Getting a New Actor into the Memorial Scene
Research on Animations

Info on model/swaps, etc:
Spoiler:
Dusty Evermann wrote:Are you sure they [the models] are invisible, and not just failing to place on their stage (i.e. the model is off camera). At lot of systems use the model's tag. Just connecting the model to the dialog Kismet isn't necessarily enough. To make it work you would either have to dig into the dialog or cinematic and change the tag reference for each line, or change the tags on the model to give Sam Thane's tag (i.e. "global_thane") and give Thane some other tag.

TEXPLORER, TEXTURES, MATERIALS, .MOD FILES
A guide to reliably made textures can be found in Ottemis' Tutorial on ME3Explorer First-Time Setup Information

Research on Materials
Reverse Engineeering Materials

Tutorial: Swapping outfit meshes and textures
Tutorial: Making Normal Maps
Removing Null Pointers
Swapping DLC Textures
Hi Res previews in 3DSMax

Tutorial: Installing .mod files
Tutorial: Using Teexplorer
Tutorial: Using Texplorer and .mod functions
Tutorial: Making .mod files from mesh mods

Tutorial: Making Texmod packages for Mass Effect
High Rez Texture Packs on ME3Explorer Wiki -- deprecated and being edited
ME1 Texture Mods
Tutorial: Changing Tali's Visor Color and Opacity
Tutorial: Changing Default Shepard's Eyes and Skin

SEQUENCES, LEVEL/OBJECT EDITING
Tutorial: Sequence Modding by Fob
Research on Kismet Sequences

Simple Level Edits
LevelObjects Research
Adding to the Import List

DIALOGUE EDITING
Dialogue String Ref Dumps
ME3 Dialogue Dump
Unreal Script Dump

Conversations Research
Dialogs Overview
Tutorial: Hex editing for dialog-- Subtitles & Conditionals
Skipping lines and Scenes by Editing the .TLK
Localization Editing

Info on dialogue editing:
Spoiler:
Dusty Evermann wrote:1. The VO pipeline was a complex beast, and we had a whole team of producers, audio people, and programmer involved with it. I'm pretty sure we used FaceFX for the lip syncing, but those were magically processed outside of the engine by the VO team. As for how they are loaded, they are Matinee tracks within the dialog's Matinee elements (I'm sure as you know, each line has a Matinee associated with it).

As you suggested, if you can modify the camera, you could focus more on reaction shots (i.e. show the listener, not the speaker), and get all dramatic, though if you do that, you'd need to at least FaceFX the expression of the listener, which can be very tricky to pull off and not enter the uncanny valley.

AUDIO EDITING
Tutorial: Simple Voice Swaps
Tutorial: Replacing Sound in DLC and Staying Authorized
Adding New Sounds
ME3 Music Thread
Tutorial: Silencing Sounds + DLC Issues
Tutorial: ME3 Audio Import Guide

CODEX EDITING
Codex Editing/Adding Tutorial

Info on Codex Editing:
Spoiler:
Dusty Evermann wrote:We added Codex entries using the Story Manager tool which I assume you don't have access to.

A codex entry would be added under a plot (which provides the Codex category) and attached to a plot state. When the plot state is set true, the codex is active to the player. The codex entry has two string refs, one for title and one for Description. The codex entry also has an image ID, which off the top of my head I'm not sure how it is mapped to an actual asset, and it has a property of being Primary or not.

Without the Story Manager, I'm not sure how to hack the underlying data to add a new one. I think, but I'm not any where near positive, that the information lives in BIOG_2DA_PlotManager_X.upk/PlotManagerGameData? Another option would be to find a rarely used Codex entry and change the text in its string refs, but I don't know how you'd keep the game from setting that codex at the old time. I took a quick peek to see if we had any dummy Codex entries that weren't being used, but at a quick glance I didn't see any. We have a rockin' editor on staff who kept waste strings on ME3 to a minimum (they cost us money to translate). Also, that approach would put the Codex entry under the wrong category anyway.

MODDING OTHER STUFF
Tutorial: Editing/Adding Emails
Changing Names on the Memorial Wall
Change Default ShepLoo Eyecolor

DLC EDITING
DLC Folder List
Using DLC Editor in ME3Explorer
Modding Firefight DLC
Modding DLC in General
Enabling DLC's in SP and MP

Info on DLC Editing:
Spoiler:
Dusty Evermann wrote:I'm not completely knowledgeable about the inner workings of DLC, but I do believe there's some sort of check-sum built into each one to help combat piracy. I'm sorry but I can't really help here, hopefully for obvious reasons.

Info on the synthesis effect:
Spoiler:
Dusty Everman wrote:The synthesis hex pattern was a crust effect and can be found in two packages:
BioVFX_Env_End002.upk : Epilogue_Synergy_Crust
BioVFX_DLC_End.upk: Epilogue_Synergy_Crust

For the synthesis crust, we just used a Kismet action to attach the crust VFX to a model. I'm not sure what you mean by "slides". If you wanted to give me ColdWetN0se's email or FB or other contact I could talk directly to him/her to try to clarify more.

UDK, BINK VIDEO RESOURCES, EDITING
RAD Game Tools Page(link to download at bottom)
Unreal Development Kit and Documentation
Bink Video Editing/Timing
UDK Video Creation/Editing by Fob
Tutorial: Removing Mass Relay Movie, Editing Binks

MEHEM RESOURCES
MEHEM Forum on ME3Explorer
MEHEM Forum Thread
Download Page for MEHEM on BSN
MEHEM Discussion Board on BSN
Other MEHEM Discussion Board on BSN
WIP: Modding MEHEM on XBOX
Tutorial: MEHEM Customization

THANEMOD RESOURCES
ThaneMOD forums on ME3Explorer
ThaneMOD General Help thread

OTHER MODS
High EMS Extended Breath Scene by mimi
Custom Class Creation in SP
Remove Allers from the Citadel
Citadel Epilogue Mod

INSTALLER RESOURCES
NSIS is used for the MEHEM installer and seems to be a good one to use for anyone interested in making an installer for their mod. We're planning on using it for the ThaneMOD installer, as well.
NSIS Sourceforge Page (download, wiki, tutorials, plugins, etc)
NSIS Script Editor Page (plugin that helps create the installer scripts)
HM NIS Edit (another NSIS Editor)
NSIS Dialog Designer Page (create custom GUI for installer)

Last Update: 9/17/2013
Last edited by Anonymous on 15 Oct 2013, 19:24, edited 35 times in total.

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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby Renmiri » 04 Sep 2013, 06:43

Awesome summary.

For reference, Dusty Evermann works at Bioware in game development and wrote Steve for ME3.
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby giftfish » 11 Sep 2013, 13:35

Sorry I haven't gotten this updated yet, been seriously swamped with the mod and putting together the Codex tutorial. I'll come back to it, but it will probably be a couple weeks yet >.<
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby Ottemis » 12 Sep 2013, 14:10

ME3Explorer first time setup information
http://ottemods.blogspot.nl/2013/09/gui ... setup.html or me3explorer-first-time-setup-information-t668.html
Note that this includes an updated list of off-forum .MOD download sources for texture and mesh mods. The wiki list is quite outdated atm.

How to install PCC file mods
http://elemods.blogspot.nl/2013/07/gene ... -file.html
This post is not on forum and referenced to in the setup guide, but definitely usefull.
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby giftfish » 16 Sep 2013, 22:18

Lots of work on this today.

I covered the News, Developer, and Users sections of the forums. Also added Ottemis' suggested posts. Cleaned up a bunch of existing stuff.

Tomorrow I'll work on the "MODs" section and with that all major posts should be in this index and forum visitors can easily access it and the wiki.

Once everything is up to date, I'll look over the forums every couple of weeks and see if anything new should be added.

Lastly, if you see important posts that should be cited in here, please put them into the thread and I'll add them.

Thanks :]
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby Ottemis » 11 Oct 2013, 15:18

Seeing old (pre August) texture and mesh mods (can) cause corruption and break me3explorer functionality, we'd need the mod list updated on the wiki.
I'm constantly asked how to fix issues caused by old mods, which are all still linked to there and here. From recent reports, this includes the cabin mod.
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby giftfish » 12 Oct 2013, 23:21

Ottemis wrote:Seeing old (pre August) texture and mesh mods (can) cause corruption and break me3explorer functionality, we'd need the mod list updated on the wiki.
I'm constantly asked how to fix issues caused by old mods, which are all still linked to there and here. From recent reports, this includes the cabin mod.


Um...I'm a bit confused by your post Ottemis. Do you want something added to the Help List above?
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby Ottemis » 13 Oct 2013, 00:06

giftfish wrote:
Ottemis wrote:Seeing old (pre August) texture and mesh mods (can) cause corruption and break me3explorer functionality, we'd need the mod list updated on the wiki.
I'm constantly asked how to fix issues caused by old mods, which are all still linked to there and here. From recent reports, this includes the cabin mod.


Um...I'm a bit confused by your post Ottemis. Do you want something added to the Help List above?


In my post from 12 Sept I mentioned the modlist on the wiki was outdated. As an alternative I mentioned I already created a (afaik complete and current) list of all valid texture and mesh modsources listed in the tutorial. This includes the old mod lists as well, but I always advise people not to use mods unless they were created with REV473 or above. Been doing so since the August REV-fixes. Because of changes to the tools and the problems with older REVs it's simply not guaranteed old mods work anymore without either popping errors or breaking Texplorer functionality. You chose to link to the wiki and outdated mod-listings onforum in therms of ME3 mesh/texture mods. This poses a problem because these sources are outdated so either these sources are updated or we use an alternate listing and we should definitely consistently disclaim the use of older mods. In short, you're linking to potentially broken mods without a disclaimer and the list is incomplete.
Last edited by Ottemis on 13 Oct 2013, 00:14, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby The Fob » 13 Oct 2013, 00:12

Well, there you have it. This will now be my ME3Explorer forums homepage. Thanks HEAPS giftfish. If I could "like" your OP twice, I would have.
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Re: Help Index of Forum Resources

Postby giftfish » 13 Oct 2013, 01:04

Ottemis wrote:
giftfish wrote:
Ottemis wrote:In short, you're linking to potentially broken mods without a disclaimer and the list is incomplete.


First, Ottemis, please understand that I created the OP at the request of Ren. I am by no means an expert in most of this stuff, and I haven't done any texture modding in ME3. I have already added your links from 12 Sept, and was quite happy to do so -- your tutorial is excellent.

Second, if there is a specific link in the OP you think should be removed, you are going to have to be clearer with me about what that link is. Are you saying I should remove all specific texture mod links I've included, as well as mention of the cabin picture mod? What about the other mods I've listed? If these textures/mods are no longer functional, then I'm happy to remove them. It is not my area of expertise to determine which are broken and which work, that's information I need from members of the community like yourself. Also, if that's the case, it seems to me they should also be added to a new entry in the wiki with a list of outdated/nonfunctional ME3 mods, advising players to use those mods at their own risk. Then again, from what I can tell much of the wiki needs revamping...

Anyhoo...as far as the cabin mod, I'd love to hear what you know about the functionality of that mod because we've integrated something similar into ThaneMOD and have been having weird issues with some users getting black textures. And that is with the most recent version of ME3Exp and our own edits of the .pcc in question. Emerald has been preparing a post for a little while, as we've been troubleshooting various fixes.

I did specifically state (in the spoiler) that the list of posts (including listed texture mods and other mods) is _not_ exhaustive. For the most part I simply selected the more "popular" research/how-to related posts on the forum, as they were the most logical ones to include in the OP. I thought it would also be nice to include links for the most popular texture mods and some other notable mods, since many users come here for those. If you prefer I not list any, then that makes my life easier, and I'll remove them. If you want specific ones added, insert the links into a post, and I will add them to the OP.

Also, just to be clear, the OP of this thread is not meant to substitute for the wiki (also stated under the spoiler). It's simply to help people find information on the forums more easily .
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