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[Article] ModMaker

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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 27 Feb 2015, 00:37

@K -- I keep both the current SF and the SVN available on my machine at all times, so here's a screenshot to freshen your memory :)

Spoiler:
Image


You can see under the "Create Job" menu there's the option to "Create New," which if I remember right is what you click on before opening another tool (Sequence Editor, etc) to record changes. Below that is the "PCC Compare" feature that Salt's post discusses. These menu options I'm guessing disappeared when you did the big tool overhaul last summer, but, they are still available in the current SF release (rev653). It could be that the code for these parts of the tool is still present (and just the menu option removed), I don't know.

As far as vanilla, sure, the PCC Compare feature would require vanilla versions to compare the modded files to -- that's the only way it could discern the changes. But, my impression from Salt's post is that the person installing the mod doesn't need vanilla files. I mean...that would kind of defeat the point. Or...am I missing something?

At any rate, even if you disagree with the premise of PCC Compare function, it was present, and ModMaker previously had the ability to be used with at least some other tools. I know that b/c way, way back in the day, Emerald actually used the Sequence Editor with it. But, this functionality is gone. Now, it can only be used with the 3 tools that have it "built in."

So, it sounds like the big question is going to be: should it be restored or not? You guys are right that it isn't a straightforward decision, due to the technical aspects of the code, as well as the following:

  • .Mod files are basically deprecated as far as textures are concerned. TPFs do the same thing and do it better, without scripts and rev-dependence. And they can be used with Texmod, as well.
  • We now have the DLC Mod method for content mods.

I'm a big advocate for the DLC Mod method. Huge. At the same time, for fewer than maybe 6 PCC-files worth of changes, I can understand if someone doesn't want to go that route. It's a decent amount of work and involves some mandatory hex-editing. That's the situation in which .mod files could still be useful: small, simple mods. It's either that or full PCC-replacement. And if you've only made a couple changes to those PCCs, it seems a bit silly to have to overwrite the entire thing.

I don't really have any personal stock in it either way, Kfreon. I used the tool for a couple of ThaneMOD v1.0 files, and will probably never use it again. I was just surprised those features were removed, since I didn't remember anything on the forums about it. And, as I've explained, I can still see situations in which they would be useful.

But, if it's not practical to support that type of use anymore, then it's not.

As far as the Wiki goes, here's my take on the current situation: the ModMaker tool (as it's accessed directly from the Tools menu) is only a .mod installation tool; it's no longer a mod creation tool. Texplorer, PCCEd, and DLCEd2 have built in modmaking features, but as far as I can tell, those are the only three. So, in the context of the Wiki, if the "Create Job..." functionality isn't going to be restored, then the modmaking aspects for each of the 3 Dev Tools that have them, should be covered in the articles for each of those 3 tools.

--------------

@K -- Here's a related question. Have you thought about actually removing modmaker functionality from Texplorer? Since the view now is that .mod files are deprecated in the context of textures, why still allow people to create them? I'm not suggesting removing the ability to install existing mods, but removing the creation aspect might be appropriate. Or...is it possible to use PCCEd2 to edit meshes and Texplorer to edit textures and put those changes into the same .mod to create a mesh and texture mod? Then, retaining that function would definitely make sense.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 27 Feb 2015, 02:09

Huh...I might have to look into that and see how he does it and see if it would be useful.
Yeah it'd only be dependent on the person creating the .mods' system cos then a normal .mod is created which is system independent.

You're right too, it's called ModMAKER not ModInstaller. I should somehow reinstate capturing info from other tools.
Thanks for the info Gift :D

Removing Modmaker from Texplorer, an interesting suggestion. But yes, you can have composite mods of textures and meshes, so I should probably leave it in there. It's only a few lines of code.

I'll look into re-adding Modmakers mod making capabilities and see what I come up with.

@ Fob: Yeah I guess it is the only tool that makes trees...Whoops :P
But hopefully no one has to use it for replacement or anything.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 27 Feb 2015, 02:24

KFreon wrote:@ Fob: Yeah I guess it is the only tool that makes trees...Whoops :P
But hopefully no one has to use it for replacement or anything.

Well, they will if they want to use it with Texplorer's built in modmaker, lol.

So, what do you want to do, K? Are you able to look at the code for the current SF that still has the features so you can see how things worked? My impression is that A LOT was changed with the 654rev and onward, so I guess I'd just be a bit concerned about potentially breaking other tools, but if it worked before, then it seems like it can work again. Ultimately, it's up to you since you maintain it, but, from what I gather, you seem to have inadvertently removed these features when you did the overhaul. :)

I guess for right now I'll put a "Create a Mod" section in the article, using screenshots from the current SF. I'll explain that the creation feature was removed in 654+, but that it may be restored in a future rev, and I'll point out the 3 tools that have their own built in modmaker. Finally, I'll reiterate in the top section of the article that creating mod files for textures is deprecated and best avoided in favor of TPFs.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 27 Feb 2015, 02:29

If I had a reason to remove that feature, I'm sure I'll figure it out again. In the meantime, I shall add that feature to my new modmaker. I won't bother doing so for the current svn I'm afraid.
I fully agree with your last statements. TPF > .mod, but creation is possible if required.

Thanks for tracking down details like this Gift. Users will absolutely love you :D
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 27 Feb 2015, 17:01

Quoting this from a News thread:

The Fob wrote:Thanks heaps Heff, that's a big help indeed.
I am at work right now but I'll implement and test these tonight and make another SVN commit with the fixes.

If this works, I think we are ready for our sourceforge update and then we can move on.
Cheers!

Looks like I'll wait on the "Create Mod" section on the wiki then. If the SF is updated to a rev without that feature (the current one has it) AND it's not in the current SVN, then there's no reason for me to cover it on the wiki until if and when it's reimplemented.

For now, I'll remove the existing content, which means I can also remove the DNE box at the top and it's ready for use :)
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 27 Feb 2015, 18:28

Ok, this article is finished, wewt. Changes were made in light of the discussion above:

--Intro has been revised
--Background section is back and discusses a few important details.
--"Install" section renamed to "Usage"; opening paragraph relocated to the background section.
--FAQs transferred from forum and modified a bit.
--Section added for potential future tutorials.

I've been waiting for permission from Ottemis to use parts of her Bug Reporting guide, Mod Formats post, and First Time Set up guide (for creation of the future Texplorer article), but she's really, really MIA atm. I've even tried PMing her on BSN. I really don't like taking things verbatim without permission, so I've been avoiding it...but it also creates more work.

At any rate, I'll try to get those articles done asap, considering we might be doing a new SF release soon. I was hoping to have all the User Tools article dones by then, ick.

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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 26 Feb 2016, 18:36

@Kfreon/Sir -- Need some clarification on ModMaker's restrictions. Just did the PCC-compare, but want to be certain.

1- MM cannot add to the name list
2 - MM cannot add to Imports
3 - MM cannot add to exports

So, MM can *only* be used for export replacements. Correct?
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 26 Feb 2016, 21:19

PCC Compare should add names as required, otherwise it wouldn't work on textures.
It can probably work on Imports too I guess.
ATM it doesn't add exports no, but it could I suppose.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 26 Feb 2016, 22:42

KFreon wrote:PCC Compare should add names as required, otherwise it wouldn't work on textures.
It can probably work on Imports too I guess.
ATM it doesn't add exports no, but it could I suppose.

Well, we no longer use it for textures, though; that feature is deprecated. That said... adding to the name list doesn't seem to appear as a "job". Only exports are referenced, so there's no way to no if the name list has been modified.

If you want to implement additions to the export list, and additions/changes to the import list, I don't think that's a bad thing, but I'll leave that up to you. I just need to know what to put in the wiki, so mod creators know what types of file edits they can bundle, and which type they can't.

Let me know what you want to do.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 27 Feb 2016, 07:51

Names get added as part of the relevant job. i.e. Names only get added for the exports that have them.
More accurately I suppose, the first job gets all the new Names. Probably not the best approach, but anyway.

At this stage for the stable, it'd be easier to not change anything and add more bugs.
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