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Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

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Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby giftfish » 05 Jun 2015, 20:51

Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored GUI textures in NEW PCCs


Yep, this is possible! It means we can now add brand new PCCs to our DLC mods, and in those PCCs store new GUI textures for war assets, codices, notifications, and more. It's also possible to retain the vanilla name of the file; I'll go through both methods.

First, caveats. I've done a pretty decent round of testing, but there's a chance I could have missed something. As far as I know right now, this method works using the criteria I outline in the tutorial. It's actually very easy. Part I covers the basic procedure, keeping the original file name intact. Part II contains details on creating a new file name and renaming the existing packages, which results in a brand new "folder" in the Texplorer tree structure.


PART I.

1. Pick your PCC.
Pick a texture-holding PCC from the base game to work off of. Do not use a DLC PCC; they have a ton more imports and I don't know if they will work the same. They may not.

I'll be using SFXImages_GameManual_10.pcc. This PCC actually holds Kinect game manual images and isn't used in the PC version of the game, but you can use whichever one you want as long as the file looks similar on the inside:
Spoiler:
Image

2. Use ME3Creator
Make a copy of the desired PCC and place it into your DLC mod folder. Then, open it in ME3Creator (File > Open PCC). Note: ME3Creator does not like "sharing" files with other applications. If you have the file open in any other programs, you'll need to close them first.

Click on the Content View tab, then the Name Table, subtab. Use the Add Name field at the top to add the names for your new images. Be sure to spell them exactly like you want them to appear in the files. They'll look similar to this when finished:
Spoiler:
Image

Next, click on the Export Object Data tab. You're going to clone one of the existing images to create your new image. Select any of the images listed (or a specific one, if you wish), and click Clone Entry in the tab's menu. Add as many clones as you want new images. I experimented with two:
Spoiler:
Image

Note: Your new textures will still have the original names until you switch them to the new names you added. The image above already has the names changed. That's the next step.

To link up the cloned texture with your new names, select the Export Table tab. Select your first cloned texture and double-click on the Name field to its right. In the dropdown that pops up, select one of the names you previously added to the name list:
Spoiler:
Image

Repeat the above for each cloned texture, giving them all new names. Then they will appear similar to that last screenshot.

Before closing ME3Creator, we have one more step. Stay on the Export Table tab, and for each new texture, change the Index field so that it has the same value as the vanilla textures. This will probably be "0".

Once you're finished, File > Save, and close your file.


3. AutoTOC.
Do this now just for good measure.


4. Texplorer Scan.
Right now your new textures are still using the texture data for the source texture(s) you cloned. To change that texture data, you need to do a Texplorer scan to build them into the tree. To keep this simple as I was figuring out the procedure I scanned only the base game and my DLC mod (DLC_CON_TMLORE). Do your scan now, if you are following this tutorial step-by-step.

After your scan, your new texture will be in the same tree folder as the source textures you cloned and will share that same image. In the screenshot below I had only added one texture as a test:
Spoiler:
Image

Finally it's time to use Texplorer's Add Bigger Image or Replace function to replace the texture. Only the texture you select will be affected; the source texture will stay the same, like so:
Spoiler:
Image

Note that the textures might also appear at the bottom on the folder, so look both alphabetically, and at the bottom (this image has two new textures):
Spoiler:
Image

Also note that the new textures are only inside the modded PCC in the DLC, but the vanilla textures are in both locations:
Spoiler:
Image
Image

Do this for every new texture you created, subbing in your new image for each one. Don't forget to Save Changes before exiting.

The cool thing is that once the mod user does their own Texplorer scan on your new textures, it will create a new hash, just for them. So the new texture will then have a new hash, making it unique from any other texture in game. This should mean (theoretically) that these new GUI textures could be replaced with Texmod. Not likely anyone would want to do so, but it should be possible.


5. Coalesced Edits.
Next, set up your new "image pointers" in your Bioui.ini for whatever you are adding/changing in the game (GAW/codex, etc). Instructions on how to do that are in other tutorials on the site.

Finally, before checking on your new textures in game, there's one more step you should take for good measure. It isn't necessary for GAW images, but it is for codices and possibly other GUI images. In the Bioengine.ini for your DLC coalesced, you must add a section that tells the game the location of each new image. It should look something like this:

Code: Select all
<Section name="sfxgame.sfxengine">
     <Property name="dynamicloadmapping">
       <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_GameManual.KinectTest",SeekFreePackageName="SFXImages_GameManual_10")</Value>
       <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_GameManual.KinectNote",SeekFreePackageName="SFXImages_GameManual_10")</Value>
     </Property>
</Section>

Each texture that you want to use in the PCC must be referenced. This includes vanilla textures if you don't rename your PCC (that's in Part II).


6. Check the new textures in game.
If you did everything correctly (and I didn't forget a step!), you should see them in place...
Image

If you run into problems double check for typos in your coalesced, missing entries in your coalesced, and make sure you indeed saved your Texplorer changes. Whenever I had issues it was due to simple careless editing in one of these three areas.


PART II.
Okie doke, so this part is also super easy. Since it is very slightly more technical I'm going to comment on the exports just a bit. As far as I've seen, all the base game texture PCCs have the same group of exports. I'll use the file from Part 1 as a guide:

  • Object Referencer -- references all the images in the PCC
  • Object Referencer -- references the two Object Referencers
  • GUI_GameManual -- the package that defines the Texplorer "folder"
  • SFXImages_GameManual -- the package that is named after the file (for the most part)
  • Textures -- use the name structure "folder package.texture name" (i.e., GUI_GameManual.Kinect_OptionNarrative_512x256)

While I did change the first Object Referencer (this requires hex), I found it wasn't necessary. The game uses the textures just fine without editing it.

What you *do* need to change are the two package names for the folder and file, along making the same coalesced edits discussed in Part I. Most of these steps are similar to in Part I, so I'll be less detailed this time.


1. Rename the PCC.
Remember that you'll also be using this name for one of your packages. I like to follow game conventions so I chose "SFX_GUI_TMImages.PCC."


2. Use ME3Creator.
Go back into ME3Creator using your renamed file. Add two names to the Name List:

  • the file name without the "PCC" ("SFX_GUI_TMImages", in my case)
  • a name for the folder, which is also the suffix of the file name ("GUI_TMImages")

There's a chance the procedure will still work if you don't follow these nomenclatural conventions, but the game seems to "expect" certain things work in certain ways -- especially in DLC.

Now, link those names to the packages (exports 2 and 3 in the sample file) using the same methods in Part 1. Once you link them there, the package names in the textures will change as well:
Spoiler:
Image

Save your file and close the tool.


3. Edit the Coalesced.
Same method as last time. Update your image pointers in the Bioui.ini, and update the dynamicloadmapping section in the Bioengine.ini, which should look something like this:

Code: Select all
<Section name="sfxgame.sfxengine">
     <Property name="dynamicloadmapping">
       <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_TMImages.KinectTest",SeekFreePackageName="SFX_GUI_TMImages")</Value>
      <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_TMImages.Kinect_OptionNarrative_512x256",SeekFreePackageName="SFX_GUI_TMImages")</Value>
      <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_TMImages.Kinect_PowerWheel_512x256",SeekFreePackageName="SFX_GUI_TMImages")</Value>
      <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_TMImages.Kinect_SquadOrders_512x256",SeekFreePackageName="SFX_GUI_TMImages")</Value>
      <Value type="3">(ObjectName="GUI_TMImages.KinectSquadOrders_512x256",SeekFreePackageName="SFX_GUI_TMImages")</Value>
     </Property>
</Section>

Remember to change both fields, the texture name and the package (file name).


4. Texplorer Scan.
If you ever want to be able to change the images in the file, you have to scan again with Texplorer to build in the new structure. Once you do, it will look something like this:
Spoiler:
Image

Note the new Texplorer folder for "GUI_TMImages" on the left.

Something that's interesting is that the vanilla images don't appear in this new folder. My guess is that's b/c Texplorer places them only in one location, and an examination of the Debug file shows that it scanned the SFXImages_GameManual_10.pcc before the SFX_GUI_TMImages.pcc. As far as I can tell, this isn't a problem. The vanilla textures still refer to both PCCs, they just aren't displayed in both folders in Texplorer. I assume that if you change one of these textures, that regardless of what "package" it's in (GUI_GameManual or GUI_TMImages), it will get changed in both places if you have both PCCs selected.

Next, note that I did NOT change the GUID for the TFC. It still names the vanilla TFC file. I don't see this as a problem. When swapping textures in PCC files, the TFC is not affected. Also, I don't even have a TFC for this DLC made yet, lol.
Spoiler:
Image

Again, the new textures are only in the new DLC file:
Spoiler:
Image

And, they are fully replaceable, just like any other texture:
Spoiler:
Image

Two final comments for clarity.

One, I didn't change any GUIDs in the file. I did research them a bit and noticed there are 3 different GUIDs referenced in the file itself:

  • one associated with GUI_TMImages; this one has an entry in the GUIDCache.pcc, viewable in the GUID Editor
  • one for the PCC itself (SFX_GUI_TMImages); this is viewable in ME3Creator's Content View tab
  • one associated with all textures; this matches the one in Textures.tfc

None of these were changed, which means the modded file and the vanilla file share all the same GUIDs. Yet, both the game and Texplorer handled everything fine. Therefore, I'm not sure the GUID has much significance when it comes to these texture PCCs. It could be that I'm missing something -- I'm still learning when it comes to a lot of this more technical stuff. All I can tell you is what happened from my experimenting, and this method seems to work.

Two, though I haven't tried it, yet, I'm guessing that in addition to cloning vanilla textures in a file to create new ones, those vanilla textures themselves could all be renamed and replaced. That way, there would be no overlap in textures with the newly-named file, and everything in it would be unique to the DLC (short of the GUIDs, lol).

-----------

That should be it! We can now add custom TFCs and custom texture PCCs to our DLC mods. Wewt :D

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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby giftfish » 06 Jun 2015, 16:29

Here's the final version of the file, btw:

Image

Oh, and from what I can tell the "Shadowmap" texture group change isn't needed for GUI textures. These work fine when reverted back to Texturegroup_UI; no black texture bugs.

EDIT: And I should mention, that to make the final version of the file, I *did* replace all vanilla textures in it, as well as cloning in new ones. Everything worked great.
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby CreeperLava » 06 Jun 2015, 17:10

That's one other step forward for Mass Effect modding, good job ! I look forward to see these new possibilities used in ThaneMOD 3.0 (because I guess that is why you have researched them^^).
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby giftfish » 06 Jun 2015, 17:51

CreeperLava wrote:That's one other step forward for Mass Effect modding, good job ! I look forward to see these new possibilities used in ThaneMOD 3.0 (because I guess that is why you have researched them^^).

Sure is :D
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby Kinkojiro » 09 Jun 2015, 12:06

Having tried this out it works! Thank you Giftfish. :D I have managed to move all mapmods 30+ textures into custom pccs which is great as I can avoid using MP pccs which means I can switch off dlc dependancy.

Couple of points I would emphasise:
  • When cloning a texture inside the pcc ME3Creator creates the index number - which stops the texture showing. The index must be reset to zero [export tab - index]
  • The ObjectReferencer appears to start being needed after 5-6 textures. After that if you haven't adjusted it, the pics don't show
  • I tried using other names but it seems that the point about keeping to the name structure seems correct. Using directory GUI_Images_Mapmod and either SFXGUI_Images_Mapmod or SFX_GUI_Images_Mapmod for the filename worked, but SFX_GUIMapmodImages didn't.
  • You can use multiple files with the same name and directory internally, just the external name can be different:
    SFXGUI_Images_Mapmod_1
    SFXGUI_Images_Mapmod_2 etc

The internal names directory/file can be the same. The biggest file I used was 16 textures, which is about the limit bioware uses for some reason.
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby giftfish » 09 Jun 2015, 14:33

@kinkojiro -- Yay, glad it worked for you.

That's interesting about the Object Referencer -- I wonder what's happening with that. Good to know, though. Did you try to stick more than 16 textures in a file? I was wondering if that would work or not and why BW bothered to put in a hard limit. I mean, it's not like these are large files. Most are under 1MB. Seems silly to have 10 200KB files when you could have a single file that's 2MB >.>
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby AVPen » 17 Jun 2015, 20:28

Interesting stuff, will give this a try later next week when I get back to modding work.
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby prince1142011 » 21 Jun 2015, 23:29

@gift
Do you know if this will work for anything that is PCC stored? And can it be used to replace existing meshes without having to include the full original PCC?

Edit:
I think I misunderstood what this is achieving. You're not creating a new blank PCC and adding stuff to it, right? You're taking an existing PCC, renaming it, and adding stuff to it. So the other exports in the new PCC are still being loaded by the game, correct?
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby giftfish » 22 Jun 2015, 00:51

prince1142011 wrote:Edit:
I think I misunderstood what this is achieving. You're not creating a new blank PCC and adding stuff to it, right? You're taking an existing PCC, renaming it, and adding stuff to it. So the other exports in the new PCC are still being loaded by the game, correct?

Correct.

In this particular case, I started with a PCC that only had 7 exports, 4 of which were textures, and 3 of which are directly involved in the functioning of those 4 textures. I ended up replacing all the vanilla texture data with new textures (via Texplorer), plus, cloned in two new textures with ME3Creator. So, short of the 3 non-texture objects, all the original texture data has been replaced.

The cloning itself works just like cloning any other export. ME3Creator's cloning is very robust. I've never worked with meshes, though, so I have no idea what they're like. They seem to be... picky, though.
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Re: Tutorial | NEW PCC-stored textures in NEW PCCs

Postby FemShep » 03 Sep 2015, 20:18

Is there a tutorial on how to create a new PCConsoleTOC.bin for a new DLC? I don't see any on the forums... but your guide mentions that you'll need one (obviously).

Good guide BTW, we need more like this, nice and thorough.

Also your name is showing in some of the pictures. Don't know if you care enough to change that.
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