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Tutorial: Add custom TFC to a DLC-mod

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Tutorial: Add custom TFC to a DLC-mod

Postby AVPen » 15 Apr 2015, 19:02

Ok folks, here's my tutorial on how I'm making custom textures in DLC-type Mods and having the new textures only affect the files of the DLC-mod and not the entire game ;) that means no more need for my mod users to use Texmod or Texplorer to fiddle with adding mod textures, as well as no more need for users to fear that they might screw up the textures for the entire game just to use a texture that affects one or a few files - all the textures they need for the DLC are in the DLC.

Now Kinkojiro has posted his own version of adding custom textures into a DLC-mod, but..... he and I have VASTLY different methods, lol :roll: So I'm going to be listing all the steps I took to make this work.

First off, you need to have your DLC-mod fully FINISHED before you start this process - adding new custom textures is the final step of making your DLC-mod, so attempting to do all these with files that had prior texture modification will seriously bork-up your game and won't work.

A few things to note before you begin the custom textures process - Kinkojiro posted a good Preparation list in his tutorial that's the same ones I followed myself, so I'm quote a little from his post lol:
- The important point is to know exactly ALL the textures you want replacing and where they occur.
- Your files have to be clean of any previous texture modifications. (AVPen NOTE: This is a MUST)
- This process is best done as a final step before creating your dlc mod. Test using texmod as when you change textures the changes to the tfc appear to be cumulative. (ie texplorer adds the new texture version but doesn’t delete so your tfc will always contained unused data).
- There must be PCConsoleTOC.bin in the DLC folder.

Ok, now that we've discussed the prep work, we can begin:

AVPen's "Custom Textures in DLC-Mods" tutorial
Step 1. Add your DLC-mod to the DLC game folder of ME3 (Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\DLC)

Step 2. Open up Texplorer in ME3Explorer
SPECIAL NOTE: If you're using SVN v687 or higher versions of ME3Explorer and this is your first time using Texplorer, DO NOT ADD THE DLC-MOD INTO THE GAME'S DLC FOLDER JUST YET. With v687 and higher versions of Texplorer, the program will automatically extract all files from DLC folders when it scans and builds a Texplorer database for the first time, which will serious f***-up the entire process. If this is the first time you're using a v687+ version of Texplorer, just keep the DLC-mod out of the DLC folder and have Texplorer do it's first scan of your system - once it finishes building its database, you can then safely add the DLC-mod into the DLC folder.

Step 3. From the top menu of Texplorer, click on "Rebuild Database"

Step 4. Texplorer will present you with a new box called "TexplorerFirstTimeSetup", which has a checklist of ME3's BaseGame and all of it's DLC components (if your DLC-mod was set up correctly, you should see the name of your mod in the checklist). Now, deselect everything in the list EXCEPT for your DLC-mod (in other words, make sure your mod is the only thing checked in the list). Press continue.

Step 5. Now Texplorer will have created a new database featuring every texture that appears in your DLC-mod files. Now find the textures that you want to replace and click on one of them - if you check the "PCC's" tab on the right, you'll see that Texplorer is listing the texture as only for the files in the DLC-mod, it will look like this:
Image
As you can probably see, Texplorer actually lists the files in your DLC-mod twice - why it does this, I have no idea but it doesn't seem to negatively affect either the mod files or the files in the base/vanilla game (and as you can see, Texplorer is only listing the files in the DLC-mod folder, nothing from the base game is listed).
EDIT, ADDITIONAL NOTE: Forgot to mention this, but make sure that there is NO previously-existing version of a CustTextures0.tfc file in your base game folder (Mass Effect 3\BioGame\CookedPCConsole) before moving on to Step 6.

Step 6. Find and replace all the textures that you want to replace in your DLC-mod and then click "Save Changes" in the top menu of Texplorer. This will create a brand new CustTextures0.tfc file in your base game folder (Mass Effect 3\BioGame\CookedPCConsole), which will contain all of the new textures that you've just applied and will point those textures to the files within your DLC-mod. This step will also alter the data of your mod's files that have new textures applied to them (this is why you need fresh mod files without any previous texture modification)

Step 7. Now go into your base game found and find the new CustTextures0.tfc file - cut and paste it into your DLC-mod's CookedPCConsole folder (Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\DLC\DLC_CON_yourmodnamehere\CookedPCConsole). Rename the CustTextures0.tfc file into "Textures_DLC_CON_yourdlcname.tfc" (for example, my DLC-mod folder is called DLC_CON_Jack, so I renamed my CustTextures0.tfc file into "Textures_DLC_CON_Jack.tfc")

Step 8. Now to make our new DLC compatible with Texplorer's treescan (not that I do treescans myself with custom DLC-mods, but other mod users probably will), we need to change where the PCC file/s are looking for the new textures. Open up the modified PCC file in a hex editor like HxD and scroll down to the very bottom of the file (where the PCC's Name entries are located); at the bottom of the list, you should see the name entry for TexturesCust0 (T.e.x.t.u.r.e.s.C.u.s.t.0...).
Now we going to change the name of the TexturesCust0 entry into our new "Textures_DLC_CON_dlcname" - to explain this next step, I'm going to quote MrFob who came up with this name-change method:
The Fob wrote:Only thing to remember is that you have to put the 00s between the letters and adjust the negative number at the beginning of each name to match the number of letters plus 1 (for that extra 00 00 at the end of each name.

Example: the name "Textures_DLC_CON_Jack" has 21 letters. 21 + 1 = 22 -> -22 in HEX (as a signed long integer) is FF FF FF EA -> switch endian and you get this to insert:

EA FF FF FF 54 00 65 00 78 00 74 00 75 00 72 00 65 00 73 00 5F 00 44 00 4C 00 43 00 5F 00 43 00 4F 00 4E 00 5F 00 4A 00 61 00 63 00 6B 00 00 00

which in ascii is
êÿÿÿT.e.x.t.u.r.e.s._.D.L.C._.C.O.N._.J.a.c.k...

To do all this a bit quicker, you can just paste "Textures_DLC_CON_dlcname" into the ascii tab of HxD, then add the 00s in between the letters and add the EA FF FF FF in the front in the HEX tab.

Step 9. Now.... delete your DLC-mod's PCConsoleTOC.bin file

Step 10. In ME3Explorer, open up Auto TOC and create a new PCConsoleTOC.bin in your DLC-mod folder. Auto Toc will search and compile a new PCConsoleTOC.bin file using all the files in your DLC-mod's CookedPCConsole folder - make sure that the list contains your new "Textures_DLC_CON_yourdlcname.tfc".

Step 11. Congratulations! You have a brand new DLC-mod with new, custom textures directly in the DLC :)


ADDITIONAL NOTES: Creating custom textures for a DLC-mod based of an existing DLC
Now for making custom textures for a mod that's based of an existing DLC (Leviathan, Omega, Citadel, etc), there's an additional step that needs to be done before we begin the entire process - the DLC that you're basing your mod off of needs to be completed unpacked first (either using DLC Editor 2 or by extracting and scanning the DLC files in Texplorer).

The reason for this is, while your mod's files are contained in their own separate DLC folder, they are still currently based off of existing DLC files and will look for the previous DLC's "Textures_DLC_CON_etc.tfc" when Texplorer is looking for the files textures in Step 4 and 5 (example: for my Brooks Cerberus Uniform mod, I first had to unpack the "DLC_EXP_Pack003_Base" folder of the Citadel DLC before I started the process, because that's the DLC folder that my mod files originally came from). However, once the previous DLC is unpacked, all the steps of the Custom Textures process are exactly the same (the CustTextures0.tfc file generated by Texplorer in Step 6 will still appear in the Base game's folder, btw).
EDIT, ADDITIONAL NOTE: Just another thing to mention, but once you followed all the steps of the tutorial and fully finished making your DLC-mod with new textures, the prior DLC that your mod was based on (Citadel, Omega, etc) doesn't have to remain unpacked, FYI.
Last edited by AVPen on 25 Apr 2015, 19:42, edited 21 times in total.

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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby Deager » 15 Apr 2015, 19:07

That's it!? It's that easy! OK, I probably spoke too soon but I'm pretty pumped to give this a whirl with the 12 advertisement textures I want to change.

EDIT: Also, my intent is to still offer my download, DLC_EXP_CEMT, as an optional download if someone can't figure out texplorer or texmod. I'll see if this method works because there are actually a few files where, well, it's the third version of the file running CEMT but as long as the game can keep happy looking for the higher mount file, it should work. Can't wait to try it out.

EDIT2:
Totally worked. I made sure I didn't have a CustomTexture0.tfc but otherwise I just got the original, pre-modded files in the DLC folder, scanned, use tpf/dds tools to install, did the cut and paste/rename deal, deleted and created a new bin file and yeah, here I am on the laptop looking a the hilarious "Cision Motors : You pay now" advert instead of Sanctuary.

So question. smarteck/freddy ag has his Citadel textures. How does that come into play in this situation? I think we actually do have a few overlaps on ads but mine would override his. For the gaming public, would people agree that I should offer both a tpf and this custom DLC_EXP_CEMT so people can choose what to do? I'm thinking yes but want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Great work AVPen!
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby AVPen » 16 Apr 2015, 05:23

Deager wrote:EDIT2:
Totally worked. I made sure I didn't have a CustomTexture0.tfc but otherwise I just got the original, pre-modded files in the DLC folder, scanned, use tpf/dds tools to install, did the cut and paste/rename deal, deleted and created a new bin file and yeah, here I am on the laptop looking a the hilarious "Cision Motors : You pay now" advert instead of Sanctuary.

Glad to hear it :)

Being honest for a moment, a part of me was somewhat afraid when writing this tutorial up that I somehow just got f***ing lucky with this and that the method would only work for me - then when someone else tried to replicate the method and do it for themselves, it would somehow completely bork up their game... which they would naturally blame me for, lol :lol:
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby The Fob » 16 Apr 2015, 13:49

So, trying to compare this to the other method.
if I understand correctly, running the DLC through texplorer already adjusts the GUID in the pcc to match the custom tfc file. And apprently, the name change in the pcc files doesn't matter at all, it's just the GUID that matters, right? If you look into your changed pcc file, do you still see "CustTextures0.tfc" for the name? Just curious.

In any case, thanks heaps guys. Maybe this will allow me to give Shepard a proper "injured but treated" face for the memorial for MEHEM v0.6. Will have to look into that.
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby Deager » 16 Apr 2015, 14:15

I'll bug smarter minds on this one again.

So question. smarteck/freddy ag has his Citadel textures. How does that come into play in this situation? I think we actually do have a few overlaps on ads but mine would override his. For the gaming public, would people agree that I should offer both a tpf and this custom DLC_EXP_CEMT so people can choose what to do? I'm thinking yes but want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Do you think there is still an advantage to not always including the texture for a content/story mod like mine? For example, would running texplorer screw up my custom texture mod if someone wanted to make sure the textures from smarteck would work in the Citadel DLC?


EDIT: Running my own test. Interestingly, smarteck's stuff is applying to files in my DLC_EXP_CEMT folder, despite getting errors on the initial rebuild of the tree with those files. I'll see what happens here. This may work fine. Will update soon.

EDIT2: And yes, it all works. LOL. When the game scanned the Citadel DLC, CEM Full, and for now, CEMT (textures) it said it couldn't scan the files in CEMT properly. But, when installing smarteck's stuff, it still would apply what it could to those pcc files in CEMT. Sure enough, the Rosenkov ad he changed shows up. But because the Sanctuary one in the same hallway was already changed in CEMT, it had no idea how to find it so it skipped it.

Basically, you can skill add custom tpf files after the fact and everything seems to work. I can't say I'd recommend it necessarily but my initial test shows that we can slap textures in our dlc mods and it shouldn't mess anyone up. I'm on rev691 when I did this.
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby AVPen » 16 Apr 2015, 16:00

[quote="Deager"]EDIT: Running my own test. Interestingly, smarteck's stuff is applying to files in my DLC_EXP_CEMT folder, despite getting errors on the initial rebuild of the tree with those files. I'll see what happens here. This may work fine. Will update soon.

EDIT2: And yes, it all works. LOL. When the game scanned the Citadel DLC, CEM Full, and for now, CEMT (textures) it said it couldn't scan the files in CEMT properly. But, when installing smarteck's stuff, it still would apply what it could to those pcc files in CEMT. Sure enough, the Rosenkov ad he changed shows up. But because the Sanctuary one in the same hallway was already changed in CEMT, it had no idea how to find it so it skipped it.

Basically, you can skill add custom tpf files after the fact and everything seems to work. I can't say I'd recommend it necessarily but my initial test shows that we can slap textures in our dlc mods and it shouldn't mess anyone up. I'm on rev691 when I did this.

I should have mentioned this in an earlier post (lol), but the new Textures_DLC_CON_dlcname.tfc file (previously the CustTextures0.tfc) that you create through my Custom Textures method actually ONLY contains the new textures that you added/replaced - nothing else (and those new textures that you've added are only being directed at the files within your mod).

If you then try and scan the new mod in Texplorer, Texplorer won't be able to scan the new modified parts of the file/s and the new textures you added won't show up in the Texplorer database - now truth told, I haven't done a lot of experimentation with scanning and adding new textures on top of DLC-mods with custom textures (as I don't want to break **** where it doesn't need to be broken, lol), but strictly speaking for myself, I don't really recommend adding new textures with Texplorer into these types of custom texture DLC-mods (but that's just me and as I said, I haven't done a whole lot of tests on it).

So yes, it would have been perfectly fine in terms of compatibility between your stuff and smarteck's, save for your new non-Sanctuary ads (which would overwrite smarktek's version of the textures, since your mod has a higher mount priority over the the Citadel DLC). EDIT: My brain was thinking of something else when I wrote this, lol
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby Deager » 16 Apr 2015, 16:16

I agree on not wanting to break stuff but I'm trying to break stuff and I can't. For example, this works too.

I had the DLC_EXP_CEMT which only had the files with texture changes. I then moved those files (sans the mount, default, tlk files) over to the core DLC_EXP_CEMF and renamed the tfc file to Textures_DLC_EXP_CEMF.tfc. Then I deleted the pcsonsoletoc.bin file and created one with autotoc. Sure enough, still works, as expected.

So, I can move stuff around a bit, scan a dlc mod with textures installed and change all textures but the one the dlc mod changes, which is exactly how it should be anyway...I'm not saying something couldn't go wrong but this is insanely awesome.
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby AVPen » 16 Apr 2015, 16:27

Deager wrote:I had the DLC_EXP_CEMT which only had the files with texture changes. I then moved those files (sans the mount, default, tlk files) over to the core DLC_EXP_CEMF and renamed the tfc file to Textures_DLC_EXP_CEMF.tfc. Then I deleted the pcsonsoletoc.bin file and created one with autotoc. Sure enough, still works, as expected.

So, I can move stuff around a bit, scan a dlc mod with textures installed and change all textures but the one the dlc mod changes, which is exactly how it should be anyway...I'm not saying something couldn't go wrong but this is insanely awesome.

That.... is pretty f***ing awesome indeed.
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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby Kinkojiro » 16 Apr 2015, 23:52

The Fob wrote:So, trying to compare this to the other method.
if I understand correctly, running the DLC through texplorer already adjusts the GUID in the pcc to match the custom tfc file. And apprently, the name change in the pcc files doesn't matter at all, it's just the GUID that matters, right? If you look into your changed pcc file, do you still see "CustTextures0.tfc" for the name? Just curious.

In any case, thanks heaps guys. Maybe this will allow me to give Shepard a proper "injured but treated" face for the memorial for MEHEM v0.6. Will have to look into that.
Firstly want to say AVPens technique for doing this is excellent, easy and dynamic. I knew when I wrote "there will be better ways to do this" somebody would come up with them very soon. I didn't expect it before I finished writing. :lol:

Fob has got to the real difference - the name. I don't want to create any issues here, but the reason you need the "Re-pointing" phase is because it creates problems for Texplorer. Luckily Kfreon has made the latest version reasonably robust but it still causes issues. Older versions just break without it.

From my testing when I came up with this, I found when scanning a file where the name is incorrect the latest version of Texplorer just stops at that image and moves onto the next pcc. It then flags an error at the end so you get a bunch of errors (no biggie). But it also skips any other images in that file. This means if you change an image in a file that contains a lot of other images half or more (depending on where your image happens to be positioned) get skipped. If somebody wants to add a texture in a file in future that is somewhere else in that pcc, then texplorer will not do it. For specific mods this is likely not an issue, but if somebody uses a dlc texture in a file that contains a lot of other textures eventually people will start wondering why this or that texture is not changing.

Given the history of issues with texture mods, as Fob pointed out the other day, we should be careful to make any dlc mods as robust as possible.

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Re: AVPen Tutorial: Adding custom textures to a DLC-mod

Postby Deager » 17 Apr 2015, 00:06

Ah, good sleuthing. So if someone wants to roll with smarteck's entire Citadel DLC pack, they have to really know what they're doing and skip those 12 advertisements...hmmmm. Well, I'm not releasing yet. Still testing CEM Full.

EDIT: So basically. I may go back to my original plan of either a separate download for the texture mod or an option during the install and explaining what it means when you go that route.

EDIT2: The issue should only be with texplorer/tpf/dds tools, correct? Those using texmod should not have a problem? Or, is that something yet to be tested? Which I'm fine doing if needed. Or I guess I could work through that complicated bit with the GUID stuff and all will be well...in theory?
Last edited by Deager on 17 Apr 2015, 01:12, edited 2 times in total.
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