I have finallydecided to make a modding thread around here. Currently it isunstickied, but I hope it will be stickied with the time. So now it's“The (unstickied) modding thread”.
NOTE: You cancall making custom maps modding too, but why should I make a threadabout that, when there already is one? No. When I talk about moddingI mean:
Modding a newunit/civ/homecity/building. There are many, many other possibilitiestoo.
But what ismodding?
[quoted fromBilboBeutlin's introduction to AoE3 modding]
'Modding'is a usual short word for modding, modifying - that means changingexisting stuff (espec. for games) to get a new outlook, otherbehavior, adapt on individual requirements or to add newfeatures.
Strictly speaking it's already modding, if you changeanything from the delivered original program state. That may be colorsettings or the keyboard layout. In most cases such changes arealready doable with the program's inbuilt features.
Most programscome with one or more setup files, which are editable with normaltext editors like eg. Windows' Notepad. From programming aspect, alsothe files which determine game behavior (like AoE3's proto.xml,techtree.xml) are also merely setup files, which the program'sexe(cutable) reads in the initializing startup phase. So changes onsuch files will usually only take effect at a new game start.
Onlyto mention by the way: very experienced users can mod the program'sexe (executable code) or a dll (dynamic link library). But thisrequires specialized, advanced know-how and particular tools.
[/quoted from BilboBeutlin's introduction to AoE3modding]
Read the rest here. link
Modder's first rule: Never touch anon-backuped file!
Keep in mind that if you mod your game, and suddenly discover that you can't get your game working, ES may not be held responible. You might be forced to perform an uninstall, and then install the game again. If you get the message Intialisation Failed, we might help you.
IN CASE YOU DELETED A FOLDER IN YOUR GAME CORE, OR ANYTHING HORRIBLE THEN: DO NOT PANIC!!!
We might be able to help you. Once I was moving the game core from one folder to another, and suddenly everything got messed up. Half of the folders were still in C:Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires3, while the rest where in a folder on my desktop. I got panic, and I ended up having to uninstall windows.
Well. The first thing you shoulddo is to read a couple of tutorials, before you do anything.
Here are some:
Okay. Now that you've read throughthis, I can start explaining some things:
1: Your game core.
Your game core is located in C:Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires 3
This is were the data for almosteverything is located. In this folder you will find:
All unit data.
All building data.
Files for the Scenario Editor
All random maps (bothloading-screens, and the files)
And so on...
Usually when modding the mostimportant folders in your game core are:
Art and Data.
2: The art folder:
The art folder is where you willfind:
All models, graphics andanimations.
(more info later)
3: The data folder:
In the data folder you will findmany files. The most important of them while modding are:
Proto.xml (Protox.xml for TWC)
In the proto(x) you will find allunit stats. It is specified in this file if a unit is Light, Heavy orwhatever. I.E. You will find hitpoints, build limit, armour, attack,attack bonus and such in this file.
The stringtable(x) is also a VERYimportant file. If your game is in Italian, this file would be inItalian. In this file you can find the names of every unit, tech,home city, choice, text in the main menu buttons, and anything. Thisis called strings. Take the skirmisher as an example. In the proto(x)you can find all his stats. But there is more in the proto(x). It isalso referred to a “String” in the stringtable(x). There are alsotags that refers to the rollover text, for the unit, and his name.Every string in the stringtable(x) has a number. And you refer tostrings by referring to these numbers. So a string might look like:
So a tag in the proto(x) refers tothis string's number. So... where was I...
Oh, yeah. Take the skirmisher asan example. In the proto(x) it is refered to a string, that containsthe name of the skirmisher (for everything else in the proto(x)too.). Without this string, the name of the skirmisher wouldn't beshowed.
You guys understand?
Note that also techs from theTechtree(x).xml refer to a string in the stringtable (I'll just callit stringtable from now on).
Then I will explain you thetechtree(x):
In the techtree (I'll call ittechtree) you will find every tech in the game.
Yes, I mean like Guard Musketeers,Bastion, Imperial Tercios, church techs, and such.
Also a tech in the techtree refersto a string in the stringtable.
4: A little break.
Just a little break from theconstant reading. Now read through this or the tutorials again, orask a question in this thread if there were some things that youdidn't quite understood.
5: Modding programs:
Well... You might have readsomething about these programs in the two tutorials I posted above?Yes?, No?
Anyway there are a few programsyou will need to use to mod:
AoE3ED: Download here: link
This will add two new programs toyour desktop; AoE3ED Archive Viewer and AoE3ED File Converter.
Let's all cheer and clap forYkkrosh who made this fantastic tool! *Claps*
-But what does AoE3ED do?
Oh, silly boy. You should havetaught of that before clapping and cheering.
AoE3ED Archive viewer can read.bar files. As far as I know there are:
5 bar. files for AoE3 vanilla(without any expansion installed)
8 bar. files for AoE3 The WarChiefs.
AoE3ED File Converter convertsfiles as: DDT to TGA (TarGA) and opposite, xmb to xml and opposite.
Notepad: A program that comes withWindows, and most of you have it on your computer. You use thisprogram to edit XML files.
Any photo editing program. Youwill need a photo editing program if you want to mod. The programwill only need to be able to read TGA (TarGA) files. Examples: Gimp,Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop.
6: Files you should know:
-XML: An xml. file can be editedwith Notepad. (Everyone with Windows should have notepad... it comeswith windows.)
-XMB: Not readable. You convertthem to edit them, and then convert them back.
-DDT: Not readable. You have toconvert them to TGA to read them, and edit them. Then you can convertthem back.
TGA (TarGA): Editable file. Youcan convert it to DDT by using AoE3ED File Converter.
Okay, currently only these, butthere are more.
7: Another Tutorial:
Well... I am going to add moreinto this, but not yet.
Also if some people has anything against modding, then DO NOT post your posts here, as it only would end up in me being irritated.
Also note that the thread isn't absolutely finished yet.
Okay... I think you may post now.