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  • Game modding

    How do people mod a game? Have played some modded games,and have always been curious how its done.
    i yam what i yam and thats what i yam!

  • #2
    What kind of games do you have in mind Terry? I've done quite a few mods for computer wargames in the past, most of it consisted in changing/altering existing files like graphics or sounds.

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    • #3
      I think in general, games that save graphics/sounds/maps/etc... in separate files are easier to mod. As an example, there are some graphic mods for some of the HPS games. These games have a folder called "Map", which contains bitmap (BMP) images of the various graphics that are displayed on the screen. I don't have one right in front of me, but a file in that folder named "2DTrees100.bmp" would be the picture of how trees look when in the 2-dimensional view. Thus, replacing that image with another would cause the new image to show up in the game everywhere that image is represented.

      The same works for sounds, animations, OOBs, loading screens, anything that can be isolated can be adjusted. I think a lot of games nowadays are realizing that it's a Good Thing if people can come up with their own mods, so they tend to make the games easier to mod. Not to say that you can't do it to games that aren't designed for it (there are some neat mods for Fallout and Fallout 2, neither of which was "designed" for modding), but it's trickier.

      I've actually "modded" some old SSI games by hex-editing the program files themselves... which is more of an exercise in geekiness than gaming. But it was fun playing through the Bunker Hill scenario in Sons of Liberty with "regiments" that were 10,000 men strong and that landed on the west side of the island instead of the east. Woot!
      "I am not an atomic playboy."
      Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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      • #4
        I've done minor modding to Hearts of Iron, which is very easy considering most of the code it text based. I mod to create custom difficulty levels.
        If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.

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        • #5
          For the sake of discussion,lets say i wanted to mod my original version of "Blitzkrieg".Lets say i wanted my artillery to be towed by horse teams instead of the Krupp trucks.Would you first create images of horse teams on your computor and put them in a file of some sort?I know,im very dense about this but am really interested.
          i yam what i yam and thats what i yam!

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          • #6
            Well, I'm not familiar with that game specifically, so I can't say for certain. But you would probably need to find and change three things:

            - the graphic(s) for the unit on the screen (change the truck to a horse)

            - the unit name/description

            - the movement rate (assuming horses don't go as fast as trucks)

            If that stuff is all hard-coded (built in) to the program, it will likely not be something simple. However, if the game has the graphics and OOB info kept in separate, easily-accessible files, it could be a much easier time.

            Many games these days have active modding communities, so if it is possible, there may be an online resource.

            Note, too, that the method for making the above changes will very likely vary from one game to the next... so just because you can make this kind of change in one game doesn't mean that it will be done the same way in another.

            Does that help?
            "I am not an atomic playboy."
            Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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            • #7
              What kind of software do people use to create their alternate images ie trucks into horses?If for instance i wanted to change all the trees in this game to giant redwoods,how do people accomplish this image to begin with.
              i yam what i yam and thats what i yam!

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              • #8
                For most games you'll need to extract the graphics files from whatever archive system they are using. That's the hard part. Once extracted you can modify the skins using almost any graphics program like Paintshop Pro or Photoshop.

                Some games are more moddable than others. Combat Mission and Hearts of Iron are two that come to mind. Most, if not all, of the skins in CM can be changed and there are already a massive amount of modded skins on the web. HOI is moddable to the point of changing game dynamics. Very little is hardcoded into the game and almost anything can be changed, including AI and difficulty levels. Since it is already a game of some depth, it is easy to get in over your head.
                If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.

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                • #9
                  If they're saved as standard "image" files, you can use any image editing program. Here's a quick, silly graphics mod I did using Paint (yes, the Paint program that comes with Windows):


                  Original image of trees.



                  "Autumn" mod of trees.

                  Now, I just have to replace the original image with my modified one (good idea to save the original somewhere, instead of just deleting it), and anytime the program calls for that file, your new one will be displayed in its place.

                  Some programs encode the graphics into their own types of file... in this case, you'd need to figure out how they are encoded and then edit the file to change the encoded values to the ones you want. If that sounds more complicated, that's because it is.

                  As an example, here's the info on the tile sets for the Wasteland game: http://wasteland.wikispaces.com/Tiles (you are not expected to understand this)

                  I honestly don't know enough about enough games to know which way is more common these days. The HPS games keep all the images separate (the above tree image is from the game Fulda Gap '85), but different games will have different ways of doing it.
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                  "I am not an atomic playboy."
                  Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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                  • #10
                    Thanks everybody,i sure have a better understanding of how some of this works now.Sounds like its very time consuming but also could be a lot of fun.
                    i yam what i yam and thats what i yam!

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