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Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

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Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

Postby Sil » 08 Aug 2016, 10:52

This might not be the question you're expecting it to be :D

I don't want Ashley and Kaiden to survive Virmire, I love the choice, it added some dramatic weight to the level and it was one of those moments that made me love Mass Effect. Last night I saw video of Ashley -AND- Kaiden alive in Mass Effect 3 at the same time through gibbed, which was interesting but it's not exactly exciting when they don't really interact and such. However, the bit that really interested me, was the squad selection screen which happily had both inserted at the same time. And it got me thinking.

Is it possible that, through a lot of tinkering, a new character could be added to your squad based upon the dead person at Virmire? I'd assume to do so you'd need a conditional or a plot bool that takes into account the fact that a character is dead before activating the content for that character. To make it a new character I'm guessing you could have the model replaced depending upon a plot bool/conditional, have new dialogue based on it etc etc.

For example, let's say Kaidan dies at Virmire, he usually does on my saves. So I'd load up ME3, import my saves where he's died and carry on. Ashley meets Shepherd and joins the squad. Then, this new character would be activated on the conditional that Ashley survived, and would activate Kaidan as alive too, but would go down a different track of plot bools and conditionals etc, to give him new dialogue, a new model, maybe even new abilities and a new name if possible. It wouldn't be Kaidan, but it'd use his slot, his stats, and possibly his abilities.

I'm certain that it's a long shot, I'm really not expecting it to be possible, but I'd wondered if anyone had considered that as a route to adding one more character to the game. I thought I'd better ask, as I've never seen anyone mentioning such an idea here. Forgive me if I've used terminology wrong at some points, I think it'll be understandable what I'm meaning, at any rate.
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Re: Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

Postby giftfish » 08 Aug 2016, 16:01

However, the bit that really interested me, was the squad selection screen which happily had both inserted at the same time. And it got me thinking.

There's no hidden "character slot" there. It just happens that the mechanic the game uses to generate the squad selection screen will allow for the display of Ashley and Kaidan simultaneously. This mechanic is totally separate from that character truly being in the game in an immersive manner.

Is it possible that, through a lot of tinkering, a new character could be added to your squad based upon the dead person at Virmire? I'd assume to do so you'd need a conditional or a plot bool that takes into account the fact that a character is dead before activating the content for that character. To make it a new character I'm guessing you could have the model replaced depending upon a plot bool/conditional, have new dialogue based on it etc etc.

It doesn't really work that way.

All of Ashley and Kaidan's content is in the game at all times. There is no central "switch". The correct content isn't even loaded on a per file basis. It's loaded on an as needed basis, within individual files, all controlled by plot checks. The game checks for the death (or survival) of a VS literally thousands of times during the course of the game. Even during the same convo there can be multiple checks. Checks within the dialogue, within the sequence, etc.

To be clear, this is how *everything* works in the game. Almost nothing is "centralized". BioH files and textures are the two exceptions. Plots are set, but those plots are checked many times in many files. There's no singular check that then flips switches in multiple files simultaneously.

For example, let's say Kaidan dies at Virmire, he usually does on my saves. So I'd load up ME3, import my saves where he's died and carry on. Ashley meets Shepherd and joins the squad. Then, this new character would be activated on the conditional that Ashley survived, and would activate Kaidan as alive too, but would go down a different track of plot bools and conditionals etc, to give him new dialogue, a new model, maybe even new abilities and a new name if possible. It wouldn't be Kaidan, but it'd use his slot, his stats, and possibly his abilities.

I've already answered some of this above, but beyond that, to achieve what you're suggesting you'd need to use Kaidan's BioH files and swap out his character and mesh. All this will do is make him look different. The new character will still be a sentinel and will still sound like Kaidan.

To change the class would be very complicated, as there are a slew of class-specific objects in the BioH files. Slew as in hundreds, if not thousands. It's possible new ones could be cloned in from another file, but you'd probably be better off just using the file of the type of class you want the new character to be, copying it, and then renaming it. There would be more to do after that, but I'm guessing that would be the more practical route.... for that step.

As far as VAing goes, literally every dialogue in game that Kaidan has voicing in would need to be edited to include the new voice. Every mission dialogue and every non mission dialogue. In addition to that, you'd have to change every plot check for every death, and every sequence object that calls his BioH file by name, since it won't be his BioH file anymore. Again, there is no "master" event.

On top of this, the new guy will still share all of Kaidan's animations, behaviors, convo locations, (romance scene) and everything else. Not to mention Shepard/the other speaker's response to all of those convos will be identical. They won't make sense, since it's no longer Kaidan. There is also all the dialogue related to Kaidan and spoken by the other characters, either in relation to his life or death, and this dialogue will become borked. Finally, there is the fact that Ashley and the new guy still won't talk to each other, since all that would need to be built in manually.

---

Basically, what you're suggesting is no different than adding a new squadmate, which really just isn't something the game is built for due to how many events need to be altered. It's a common idea/request -- possibly the most common -- but you're talking about 75% of game files. Maybe more.

I know folks like to "see what happens" if they gibb in events like this -- it's an experiment. And, the answer is this: a huge percentage of the conversations and plot events in your game will be completely borked, b/c these all assume only one VS is alive. Usually folks who do this aren't interested in immersion, though. They're interested if they can do something, not if they should. And they definitely should not be surprised when they see a whole hell of a lot of bugs.
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Re: Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

Postby Sil » 08 Aug 2016, 17:04

I knew it didn't activate a hidden slot just that it showed them both on the screen at the same time, so it surprised me as I'd assumed they'd be bound to that same position and the game would only allow one of them to work. But, that's fair enough, I knew it was highly unlikely to be possible but I thought I'd best mention it on the off-chance someone hadn't thought of it. Thanks for answering.
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Re: Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

Postby giftfish » 08 Aug 2016, 17:52

No problem.

I have a plan for a new wiki article that covers answers to questions like this. It's information that modders should really share with folks. What types of things are possible, what aren't and why, covering the most frequent "asks" that folks have.

I think it would be pretty handy :)
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Re: Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

Postby Sil » 08 Aug 2016, 18:13

That'd be a really great idea, it'd be pretty helpful for people trying to think of mods :)
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Re: Question: Ashley and Kaiden Surviving Virmire

Postby giftfish » 08 Aug 2016, 18:46

Sil wrote:That'd be a really great idea, it'd be pretty helpful for people trying to think of mods :)

I need that handy little device Jaylah has in the new Star Trek where it makes like 5 billion copies of her. Granted, they are holograms, but same principle :)
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