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[Article] ModMaker

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[Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 10 Feb 2015, 18:49

Article: ModMaker
Status: Complete
URL: http://me3explorer.wikia.com/wiki/ModMaker

Work in progress. Main using Kfreon's tutorial, along with info from the FAQ.

@K -- I seem to be having a pathing issue, but I'm not sure why. The debug window tells me that it's found Texplorer trees for all 3 games and the path is set up correctly for ME2, but the number appears red. Screencap coming in a moment...
Spoiler:
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Convenient in a way, b/c now I have a screencap of when ModMaker needs a pathing adjustment, lol...
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 10 Feb 2015, 20:04

Yeah I've seen another person with this problem. Wouldn't worry about it for now, and I'll see what I can find.
The game still works as far as I know, but for some reason, the indicator doesn't change...
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 10 Feb 2015, 20:42

@Kfreon -- Ok. Could you do me a favor and zip up/post a screencap for me? I'd like at least one cap of the current SVN with all the numbers green and that has the "Search" bar in the window for the wiki. I was going to take this myself, but it doesn't look like I can.

If you also happen to have recent caps of what the tool looks like while applying and after applying a mod, could include those as well? If not, that's fine, I'll just be using the main image with a mod loaded from your tutorial :)
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby FemShep » 11 Feb 2015, 06:55

Should you mention that this is not at all related to ME3Tweaks ModMaker? It has the same base name and word styling (I made sure to advertise it as ME3Tweaks ModMaker and not just ModMaker to try to draw a distinction... though most people can't even get my site's name. maker manager really!?)
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ME3Tweaks has modding guides, tools, forums for mods, a modding wiki, and ModMaker, an online mod creation tool.
ME3 Mod Manager, the civilized way of installing and managing ME3 mods.
ME3Tweaks Facebook Page
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 11 Feb 2015, 08:15

Here you go gift.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 11 Feb 2015, 15:32

FemShep wrote:Should you mention that this is not at all related to ME3Tweaks ModMaker? It has the same base name and word styling (I made sure to advertise it as ME3Tweaks ModMaker and not just ModMaker to try to draw a distinction... though most people can't even get my site's name. maker manager really!?)

I've already added clarified this in the authorship box on ModMaker's wiki page, that it is "ME3Explorer's ModMaker." (see my Talk page comment)

Honestly, though, I don't see the problem. The entire wiki is the "ME3Explorer" wiki, not the ME3Tweaks wiki. It's a wiki for the toolset, period. It says so right on the home page. To make it abundantly clear, Fog.Gene is even using the same logo as on the forums and the old wiki. And, the entire organization of the wiki reflects the organization of the toolset itself.

I have never, ever seen a post on the forums here with someone confusing the two tools. Mentioning it, I think, is what *would* confuse people.

@Kfreon -- Ah, thank ya dear. I'll get that up this morning :)
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 22 Feb 2015, 23:15

@Kfreon --

I did a lot of work on this article today and the "Installation" section is now complete. I really need you to give it a detailed read to make sure I have all the details and didn't mess anything up. I'm not very familiar with this tool, so I took everything I could from your tutorial and then expanded on that where I thought newbies and non-techie types would benefit. I do have some specific questions, and in a separate post I'm going to make some GUI suggestions for you.

Questions:

1. Pathing Bug -- For situations like mine above where the pathing is correct but ModMaker doesn't think it is, can MOD files still be applied for those games or not? I need to warn users in either case.

2. Repair Feature -- How often does this work. Is there any indication in the tool--besides what I go over in the article--that tells the user if a repair was unsuccessful?

3. PCC Selection -- Does this work in the current SVN? Can a PCC for a DLC mod be selected and the corresponding PCC in the base game be de-selected so that the job only affects the DLC PCC? (for example)

3. Update Job -- I need to make sure I'm clear about the functionality to this button. Each time you change the PCC selections associated with an individual job, this button must be clicked, correct?

4. Saving a mod file -- Will using these options also save the selection of PCC's you've chosen to apply the job to? Or will it only save the the repaired mod and/or a selected job?

5. Move options -- Why would you ever want to move a job up or down in the list? As far as I can tell, this isn't explained in your tutorial. It seems like you might want to do this in case of multiple jobs affecting the same game object, to control overwriting, but if that's the case, then why not just have an "off/deselect" button for a job?

That's it. GUI suggestions next :)
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby KFreon » 23 Feb 2015, 07:38

Looks pretty good to me. Easy to read and understand.
Some things though:
- The scripts don't necessarily change with each rev, but I have to assume they have. Not really something to write, just for info. Furthermore though, you should clarify that a .mod with an old rev number isn't unusable and likely won't have any issues at all. I'd almost discourage having devs put the rev number in there, but I suppose it could be good for completion.

- You might want to emphasize creating a tree before installing mods. That'll save a lot of trouble down the road.
- Pathing is only an issue during installation too.
- Could note that dropping and dragging .mods anywhere on the window also works.
- The Valid flag in the center pane isn't to denote whether the file exists or anything, only if the script is valid (has pccs, expids, game version etc)
- I wouldn't worry about the "Too old to fix". It can't break anything. All it'll do is look for a pcc called "TOO OLD TO FIX.pcc" and skip that job.
- To reiterate, UpdateJob isn't for selecting/deselecting pccs. You should never have to click that button. Poor placement on my part, sorry for the confusion.
- Might also be worth mentioning that holding Control and clicking jobs is how to select more than 1 job at a time for "Run Selected".


The create section looks to be cut straight from the explanation part of my tute, which isn't really useful for instructing others. It's more of how things work inside.

Ok onto the questions.
1) To clarify, it's actually just a GUI bug. The indicator wasn't getting updated properly. Users can ignore it. They'll be told later if the game doesn't exist. One way or the other...

2) .Mod repair is something I'm extremely proud of because it works as intended and has since I wrote it :D If it fails, there'll be messages in the DebugWindow, and it'll show something other than True under the Valid? entry above the PCC's area. It's supposed to turn the whole thing red but it doesn't do that for me...I really failed there.

3) To my knowledge this works fine.

3.1?) Update Job is only for when you DIDN'T update at load time. It shouldn't break anything to do it any other time, but it's for when you don't want to update automatically (never for most people. Always update on load) To clarify its purpose, it merely updates the script using the current template. Deselecting PCCs automatically modifies the script.

4) All job operations should use the selected pccs and expids.

5) That's precisely what it was there for, and you're quite correct in that it is redundant now. It's better to just delete a job. Also, would you want an deselect option for jobs, or just delete them from the queue? (not the .mod)


I want to thank you for doing all this work on the wiki. It's been aging ungracefully for a while now. Looks good and sharp now :D
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 23 Feb 2015, 14:39

KFreon wrote:Looks pretty good to me. Easy to read and understand.
Some things though:
- The scripts don't necessarily change with each rev, but I have to assume they have. Not really something to write, just for info. Furthermore though, you should clarify that a .mod with an old rev number isn't unusable and likely won't have any issues at all. I'd almost discourage having devs put the rev number in there, but I suppose it could be good for completion.

Well, in theory, if the user knows what rev the MOD file works with, they could go download that rev and use it to apply the file. Some users might want to try that. I didn't state that, b/c I don't want to encourage use of old revs, but that's a logical conclusion to draw.

I don't state that once a mod is a rev old that it will no longer work. I state that once a rev is *old enough* it will no longer work. Like the ThaneMOD .mod I used in one of the screenshots, lol. This is another reason that it's good for authors to note the rev in the MOD download documentation (Ottemis does this, for example). This way if users see it was 100 revs ago or even 50, there's a good chance it won't work AND won't be repairable. They can try, but it would be more time-efficient to move onto another mod, lol.

That sort of gives me an idea, I need to make sure the current rev/SF versions are featured on the home page. I'm going to put up a copy of the "Contribute" section there, as well, in the hope it might attract some new coders to the project to give you and WV more help.

KFreon wrote:You might want to emphasize creating a tree before installing mods. That'll save a lot of trouble down the road.
I can adjust the formatting so this is more noticeable.

KFreon wrote:Pathing is only an issue during installation too.
Oh really? Hm, ok. That makes sense, I guess, b/c if you are making the MOD you're likely in Texplorer or PCCEd2 or something, right?

KFreon wrote:Could note that dropping and dragging .mods anywhere on the window also works.
Will do. Your tutorial mentioned it was "coming" but I didn't know if it had "arrived," lol.

KFreon wrote:The Valid flag in the center pane isn't to denote whether the file exists or anything, only if the script is valid (has pccs, expids, game version etc)
Ok, weird. I swear your tutorial said the opposite. Lol, will change.

KFreon wrote:I wouldn't worry about the "Too old to fix". It can't break anything. All it'll do is look for a pcc called "TOO OLD TO FIX.pcc" and skip that job.
Lol, kk. Will adjust.

KFreon wrote:To reiterate, UpdateJob isn't for selecting/deselecting pccs. You should never have to click that button. Poor placement on my part, sorry for the confusion.
Ok. I'll fix that and put it into my GUI suggestions post.

KFreon wrote:Might also be worth mentioning that holding Control and clicking jobs is how to select more than 1 job at a time for "Run Selected".
Ah, yes. Helpful. Will do.


KFreon wrote:The create section looks to be cut straight from the explanation part of my tute, which isn't really useful for instructing others. It's more of how things work inside.

Yep, I haven't done anything with this yet, just copy/paste. Don't pay attention. These are not the droids you're looking for...

KFreon wrote:1) To clarify, it's actually just a GUI bug. The indicator wasn't getting updated properly. Users can ignore it. They'll be told later if the game doesn't exist. One way or the other...

2) .Mod repair is something I'm extremely proud of because it works as intended and has since I wrote it :D If it fails, there'll be messages in the DebugWindow, and it'll show something other than True under the Valid? entry above the PCC's area. It's supposed to turn the whole thing red but it doesn't do that for me...I really failed there.

3) To my knowledge this works fine.

3.1?) Update Job is only for when you DIDN'T update at load time. It shouldn't break anything to do it any other time, but it's for when you don't want to update automatically (never for most people. Always update on load) To clarify its purpose, it merely updates the script using the current template. Deselecting PCCs automatically modifies the script.

4) All job operations should use the selected pccs and expids.

5) That's precisely what it was there for, and you're quite correct in that it is redundant now. It's better to just delete a job. Also, would you want an deselect option for jobs, or just delete them from the queue? (not the .mod)

1. Got it. I'm about to make a bug template, so I'll use it when I mention that.
2. Ok, so basically, if the repair option works, then users can be certain it's worked correctly? But there will be mods like the one I used in the example that are too old to repair. That sum it up?
3. Ok, I asked, b/c it doesn't work in the current SF, so I'm going to have to be clear that it works in the current SVN, but not the current SF.
3.1 (oops) Ok, I'll fix the update job section.
4. Oh cool. This is handy :)
5. I would use a checkmark toggle like you do for the PCC selection. That way people can see it's still there, but "turned off." If you delete it from the queue, many people will misinterpret that as being deleted from the .mod.

KFreon wrote:I want to thank you for doing all this work on the wiki. It's been aging ungracefully for a while now. Looks good and sharp now :D
You're welcome :)

Let me get that GUI post up now. I got distracted last night. Then we can keep it here or move it somewhere else that's convenient for you.
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Re: [Article] ModMaker

Postby giftfish » 23 Feb 2015, 15:50

MODMAKER GUI Suggestions

I know you asked for these last July, K, when you were working on the overhauls to MM/Texplr/TPF Tools, but I was in the middle of testing and release of ThaneMOD v2.0 and just didn't have time to comment.

First, things I love: the search bar, the version number, the color-coded game indicators, the script "slider" feature, and the Help option that pulls up the forum tutorial. All are awesome.

Now, for the things that could use improvement:

1. Panels! -- The panels really, really *need* definition. Badly. They need inset borders/different colors/something to contain the different groups of information in each panel. Having just a flat blank space without any type of field labeling is confusing to the user. New users, especially, have no idea what is what. The panels themselves need descriptive names. Something like: Mod Jobs, Job Details, and Script. Taking the time to implement just a bit of organization goes a long way. It look me a few minutes to figure out the layout of such a "blank canvas" and I actually understand the theory behind all the information presented much more than the typical user, lol. My first reaction was "Uh...what the heck is all this?!" (since nothing was labeled).

Basically, you need to put yourself in the mindset of someone who doesn't even know what a .mod or PCC file is, and who has never seen the tool before. Yes, you've linked the tutorial--which is great--but it shouldn't act as a substitute for information the GUI should be providing the user. The tutorial should be a supplement, not a replacement, if that makes sense.

2. Resizing -- I've noticed that a lot of ME3Exp tool GUIs don't resize well. As in, if you change the size of the window, GUI elements simply get cut off. Scroll bars usually appear, but sometimes don't. Ideally, when a window is resized, contents should grow/shrink/relocate and text should wrap accordingly. This is almost always better than using scroll bars, but I'm sure it's more difficult to code. A couple specific things:

--The Game Version button gets cut off when the window width is narrow enough. The scroll bar that appears doesn't fix it.
--If you reduce the width of the window after loading a job but before clicking on it, once you *do* click on it nothing appears to the right. If you make the window larger, nothing still appears. You have to make the window larger and re-click on the mod job.

3. Script Slider -- I love that you did something "fancy" with this. Can the arrow buttons be moved to the top or bottom menu/info bars, so that if the user wants, the entire script can be removed from the UI? Right now the left edge stays visible even when "minimized" since the buttons also have to stay visible.

4. Update Job -- I'm guessing from what you explained in your previous post that this would be better as a menu option across the top bar?

5. Move up/Move down -- Mentioned this above, but probably remove these and implement a toggleable checkmark system.

6. Valid? -- How about a tooltip that tells the user what this means?

7. "Details" -- This field isn't filled in in your tutorial example, nor in the old MOD example I screenshotted. What's it for and is it needed?

8. "Texname" -- ModMaker can be used for more than just textures and meshes, so this field won't apply to every job -- it will only apply to textures. In the example I screenshotted, it says "Some Mesh" which is not inaccurate. Can this be adjusted so that it either says the texture name or says "None" if it's not a texture? Rather than providing the user incorrect information which may (will) confuse them?

9. TOO OLD TO FIX -- It sound like you already have plans for fixing this, but basically my thought is that it should "gray out" and not be selectable. The user shouldn't have the option to apply a MOD that's too old.

10. "Select All" -- This could be more visible if relocated. For example, if you placed some header text at the top of the PCC checkbox, you could then but placement will depend on what you do with the rest of the panel

11. Help menu -- Once the wiki article is done, we'll want this in the future to link to it rather than a forum tutorial. Tool usage tutorials shouldn't be placed on the forum anymore, now that the wiki is being updated. They should all be placed as updates onto the corresponding wiki page. We still need to work out the best way to do that when it comes to updating an existing article. I'm not sure if we'll want to retain instructions for old revs as separate articles, make new subsections in existing articles, or what.

12. Game Found -- GUI error needs fixing. (just putting here for completion)

Btw, what is "Extract Data" from job for? My guess is that it will extract the raw texture or something, but what about in the case of meshes or game edits that aren't textures or meshes?
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