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DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Area for texture-specific, modding-related discussion. Topics that involve models/meshes/actors go in the mesh area. As with other non-toolset related content, answers not guaranteed.

DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 08 May 2015, 19:38

So, regarding the recent evolution of ME modding with the arrival of DLC mods, I have a few questions :
- Is it useful to rebuild the Texplorer tree to include the new DLC mods each time we install one ?
- In parallel, is it normal or should it be avoided that some texture mods (TPFs, MODs) replace specific textures of these DLCs (I saw it happen a few times in the TPF/DDS debug panel with MEHEM or ThaneMOD) ?
- Would it be possible to make a total texture overhaul DLC-mod using the already existing TPFs ? Sorry if the question is silly, I am not really aware of the internal functioning of DLC-mods.
- If it is possible, how to bulk extract dds files from broken .mods ? I checked in ModMaker, and it seems we have to extract the dds one by one, as opposed to the bulk extract of TPFs in TPF/DDS Tools that works just as expected.
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Re: DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Postby The Fob » 08 May 2015, 20:21

I'll try and answer this as much as I can. I hope I'll get this right. Things change a lot with different version of ME3Explorer etc, so whatever you do, be prepared to do a bit of trial and error before you get everything to work smoothly:
- You should never build a tree, once you applied a texture mod. Trees need to be built before installing any texture mod. If you build a tree over an ME3 installation that already hsa texture mods installed, chances are, you will run into errors with future mods so don't do it. If you decide that you need a new tree, you need to vanilla your game first.
- If you want to install textures into DLC mods (for example, you have a high res texture for Anderson and you want this texture to show during MEHEM) you need to install the DLC mod before building the tree. So the correct order of things is vanilla your game -> install all DLC mods you want -> do the tree scan -> Install textures.
If you find a new DLC mods, that you didn' know about before and you want to add it to your game, whch is already texture modded, you have two choices:
1. Add the DLC mod and let it run without the texture mods
2. Vanilla the entire game and re-install everything in the proper order
There is currently no functionality that allows you to add a DLC to an existing tree.

In general, for combing DLC mods with texture mods, use this guide.

- It would be theoretically possible to make one giant DLC that includes a lot of texture mods but it is not practical. This theoretical mod would have to include basically every pcc file in the game. Also, it would not help you to combine mods because if you wanted to add another DLC mod, the files of that would have to overrule the ones of the texturemod DLC and you end up with the old textures regardless. I am not sure if that was expressed very well but the short answer is: A DLC mod for all textures is not an option.
That said, small DLC mods for texture changes are possible, see AVPens's Casual Jack mod and/ir MiriArmor mod for example. However, these work because they only change textures in one or two specific levels, so only the files for those levels needed to be in the DLC mod. If you change a texture that is present in a lot of levels, than things get less practical.
- Unfortunately, i can't answer this as I have never tried to extract dds from .mod files. Maybe someone else can chime in for this.

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Re: DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 08 May 2015, 20:26

Thank you very much ! I guess I'll rebuild my entire game soon then =). I'll just wait for the next versions of the big mods to come out.
I haven't really understood your explanation regarding the huge texture overhaul DLC-mod. What would make it impossible to pack a lot of modded dds files together and let me3x install it ? Unless you mean it would be complicated to furthermore add other DLCm ?
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Re: DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Postby The Fob » 08 May 2015, 22:37

No worries! :)
As for the DLC texture mod: Packaging the textures themselves together is not the problem. In fact, that happens anyway (I think, KFreon, correct me if I'm wrong there).
The problem is the structure of ME3. Basically (and a bit simplified) it goes like this: Most textures of the game are saved in one big file, one after the other, so every texture has a defined position (offset) within that big file. When a level is loaded, it is loaded from the pcc files, that contain all the level data. Within these pcc files, textures merely exist as references. A texture reference withing the pcc file has the information at which offset the game should "look for" the texture within the big texture file. When you apply a texture mod, your modded texture is usually bigger than the old one, so you cannot just put it into the same place within that texture file or you would change the offset of all the other textures that come after it and therefore, you would break all the references for these other textures. So when you apply a texture mod, two things happen:
1. The texture itself gets saved in a new texture file.
2. All the files for all the levels that use the texture get altered, so that the texture reference in these files now points to the new texture.

So suppose you wanted to make a DLC mod with all these textures for all the levels and characters put together. It's not enough to just insert the new texture file via dlc because the levels themselves would stil reference the old textures and your new ones would never get used. You would also have to insert all the altered level files with your DLC. If you want to alter a texture that exists only in one single level, that's ok, you just add that one single level. But since you want to change a lot of textures, that would mean that you basically alter something in almost every level in the game. Therefore, you would basically have to insert the entire game into your DLC.
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Re: DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Postby giftfish » 09 May 2015, 00:58

Nice explanation, Fob.

@Creeper -- This is something that will be added to the new wiki soon. The Texplorer and TPF Tools articles are the only two that remain for User Tools; I've just been waiting for things to get ironed out with the DLC process and the (hopefully) impending new SF.
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Re: DLC-mods, Texplorer and TPF/DDS Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 09 May 2015, 07:13

Wow, I had not imagined a process that complicated. Thanks for the explanation !
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