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Topic Subject:The AOKH Modders Guild
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Sebastien
Dark Samurai
posted 06-21-14 03:43 AM CT (US)         





Welcome to the AOKH Modders Guild.

You can ask questions here, use it as a discussion board or simply use it as a reference when you need help; for both Steam and Userpatch versions of the game.

However, please note, the majority of this topic is written for the Userpatch 1.5 edition of AOK.


If you don't already have Userpatch, I would recommend you download it now.


Userpatch is a fan made patch which adds a ton of new features to the vanilla game and is indispensable to the both the scenario design and the online community.
It also opens many new doors to the modding capabilities of the game; these are just a few of the additional options Userpatch can offer:

- Add new civilizations
- Add the 5th resource to your mod
- Use hidden resources for creating new effects or stats for units, creating limited buildings and more.
- Creating many new tech effects, opening up a wide array of options, including techs which effect allies and enemies.
- Add in HD style additions, such as revealing relics on map, creating Feitoria type buildings, add siege towers which send units over walls, garrison villagers and sheep into ships...and much much more.












First of all you need to understand the different file types of AOK and how we can edit them accordingly. Everything you will be editing is stored in your Age of Conquerors directory and might look something like this:

C:\Games\Age of Empires 2\Data

Within the data folder, you will see a list of files, including:

Terrain.drs - contains all graphics for terrains.
Interfac.drs - contains all graphics for the interface and menu items and images. Also contains sounds for menu clicks, town center bells, battle started sounds etc.
Graphics.drs - all unit, building and objects graphics.
Sounds.drs - sounds for all the units (music & terrain sounds are stored in the /Sound directory).
Empires2_x1.dat - Vanilla data for original game.
Empires2_x1_p1.dat - C patch Conquerors version data. This is the main data file you should be editing.
gamedata_x1_p1.drs - This file (and variations of it), contain the RMS scripting portions of the base game, along with any additional files which are added to the game. AOK will always treat the gamedata_x1_p1.drs as the final edition of anything. So for example, if you add an edited terrain SLP named 15001.slp into the gamedata_x1_p1.drs file, then the game will load this file instead of the original one in terrains.drs.

This is incredibly important to note when creating new mods. It is much better to ADD files into the gamedata_x1_p1.drs rather than the original files. This makes it easier to keep track of new SLP's and also keep the file size when sharing your mod smaller. I'll go into more details on this later on.

Drs files contain all the graphics and sounds etc you see and hear in game. Think of it like a zip folder and inside it is lots of other files.

Inside each drs file are files called slp’s. These are the individual graphic files; each slp contains the graphics for a particular unit or terrain or menu.

The empires2_x1.dat file is what stores all of the stats data in the game, i.e. it tells your archer how many hitpoints he has, it tells your building it can collect food, and tells your town centre it can research castle age at a certain point.

Language Files

Language files are editable .dll files which contain all of the text you see in game. For example, hints, expanded information, dialogue, menu names, unit names etc*.

Language files are named; language.dll, language_x1.dll and language_x1_p1.dll. These are located in the main AOK directory.




For editing data the only file you need is Advanced Genie Editor (or AGE, for short).

Download it here!

This is the most up to date data editing software. You can use AGE to edit research, techs, units stats, buildings, gaia objects, add graphics, create new units, give abilities to other units/building (for example making a house garrison able) and so much more.

University Tutorials

-Introduction to creating units using AGE (this is AGE 2 but the concepts are the same).
- How to create a maximum build, limited number unit/building



This is the way of changing the labels in AoK, such as the name of a unit or building, the main menu text and even the text of many of the scenarios. In order to change them, you need to edit the language.dll files. To do this, you need an editor (listed below). There is also an excellent language editing tutorial over at the SWGB forum here.

NOTE: Before editing your current language files, I recommend downloading the most recent language files from the Blacksmith. The download combines all of the language files together into one, so it makes it a lot easier and quicker to edit the file.

Download it here!

Pebble32
This file is used for editing any .dll and works slightly better than reshacker as you can view what the strings say before scrolling through them all (unlike reshacker) and it contains a search function. The only problem is you can't add new strings.

Resource Hacker
An easy and straightforward program for editing .dll files. With this you can add new strings.




Graphics editing is my favorite part of modding. It opens up a whole new world of creativity. Anything you can imagine, you can make. Best of all, now you can put it into AOK and play it.

For inserting new slp's, editing current slp's, editing drs files and so on, you only need one program. This program is called SLX Studio.

Download it here!

University Tutorials

- Poser tutorial for making units
- Sketchup Building Tutorial
- 2D Photoshop Tutorial

So how do I actually create new graphics?

Well first of all we need the right software to make the graphics. Good for us that it doesn't have to be that complicated and can be done to a good enough standard without using really expensive software.

There are two ways of modifying graphics for AOK.

3D- You will make model the object, add the textures, render it into an isometric format, use a photo editing software to modify its palette and touch it up and then insert into the game.


Here are two rendering presets for AOK style camera angles and lighting.
I will try to add more of these for different software over time.

Poser
3ds Max

2D- You don't have to be experienced in modelling to create new units. You can use methods such as copy and paste (look at Age of Chivalry - fantastic copy and paste methods there). Copying and pasting is great, as you can design graphics that automatically match with everything else in AOK and you don't have to worry about perspective. You can use different tools as well like color alterations to give a different look to your buildings.

What software will I need?

Over the course of modding I have come across many different pieces of software but to be honest a lot of them are useless or outdated so here is my version of what you should use.

Free Software - Picture Editing

GIMP. This allows you to pretty much do most the things Photoshop can do. It is easy to use and is great for copy and pasting work for AOK.

Free Software - 3D Modelling

Sketchup. This is an amazing tool used by many professionals. You can make anything you want using this program. Matt Li Vecchi wrote a good tutorial on this here. You can also go to Sketchucation, for some more in depth tutorials and plugins.
-Kerkythea Renderer – A free renderer for Sketchup. Gives you some good results.
-POV RAY – Another Renderer that can be used with sketchup. POV RAY is really useful for many other applications too like Arboro(another tree generator).

G Max. Gmax is a 3D modeling application based on 3ds Max. It is good for modeling, texturing, and basic animation rigging and keyframing capabilities. Was widely used in the development of Sim City 4, including its mods.

Daz Studio 3D. Daz Studio works a lot like Poser, and even supports a lot of Poser models. This program tends to concentrate on developing humanoid models, so use this for your unit creation.

Blender. Completely free and a great 3d tool used by many professionals and amateurs alike.

Paid Software - Picture Editing

Adobe. Adobe Photoshop would be the main piece of software you need and can do pretty much anything you want it to. Probably by far the best photo editing software out there.

Coral Painter. Personally I really, really like this piece of software. If you can paint, or draw or anything like that then this is the software you need. As for use with AOK? You can use it for interface, menu/civ pictures, touching up buildings and units or even making new objects from scratch (tho you'd have to be pretty good at painting).

Paint Shop Pro. This is another good editing tool, though isn't in the same league as PhotoShop and it's better than GIMP. That also explains the much cheaper price.

Paid Software - 3D Modelling

Pretty much anything by Autodesk. This company is like the Optimus Prime of the 3D graphics world. I would recommend starting on 3D Studio Max, but Maya is also good. Expect to pay $1000’s of dollars. HOWEVER - if you are a student and use it for none commercial purposes you can get the entire Autodesk suite completely FREE, here!

Poser
A tool for creating 3D characters. Great for unit design. Tutorial.

Again, you can use whatever you want to model. There are loads of programs you can use like Maya, Zbrush, Lightwave, Vue (great for terrain creation and mountains and the like).

There are also loads of fantastic plugins, tutorials and pre-made objects out there online you can download and use (ensuring they are free for non commercial use).

Websites

Turboquid is a good website for downloading or buying 3d models.

3dstudio is another good website.

For a good source of free textures I highly recommend CG Textures. Again a search engine will help a lot here, eg. free textures.



When making anything for use in AOK you will need to convert it to a 2d image and also render it to an isometric view with correct lighting (lighting in AOK comes from the East).

You will then need to change the palette of the image to the AOK palette.

I decided to upload them to the blacksmith, the download link is here.

To use with GIMP. View this image for some guidance .
Load your image. Go to the menu bar, windows, dockable dialogues, palettes.
Now in that box click on the back arrow looking thing and then go to Palettes menu, import palette. Then in the import palette box, go to palette file, search for where you unzipped the .act file and click import. This will add this palette to the palette box.




I will add a very short section to this to be updated with in depth data editing on the matter very shortly. Basically for now adding terrains works the same way as adding graphics. You can add NEW terrains to your terrain.drs file (for replacing none editor terrains) aswell as replacing the normal ones you see in game. Here is a link to a modpack which changes the hidden terrains you find in game. Open the genie file in genie 1 and then read the terrain.text to view in detail. For normal terrain editing you will be better off running mod pack studio 3. You can find it here. I dont recommend using mod pack studio 3 for anything else other than saving the terrains. That will create the slp. Once you've done that open the project in mod pack studio 2 to write an install script and run the modpack. Modpack studio 3 tends to crash a lot, and I mean, I have to reinstall it every time I close it. It has though an excellent import image function which automatically cuts your terrain into nice aok sized squares. So find an image of terrain you like or which you made. Import image and viola. You terrain image must be set at 970x490. This is the simplest way ever. (Will update soon with in depth detail)




Righto. Just a quick update. All sounds can be edited in the game whether it is a unit sound or a building sound, or even the in game sound like main menu music or win screen music. To edit sounds you'll need mod pack studio. Go into modpack studio, you will find the sounds.drs in the location tabs. In here every single sound for every unit and every nation is there. You will find the sounds list in the mod pack guild zip. You can import sounds using the import button and click save. There are also sounds in the interface.drs. These will be your sounds for things like the 'your being attacked' sounds or the menu button hover sounds and so on.




(coming soon)

[This message has been edited by Sebastien (edited 10-22-2018 @ 11:44 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Sebastien
Dark Samurai
posted 06-21-14 11:36 AM CT (US)     1 / 597       
New thread for random modding questions.

Just to note, I'll be continually updating this over the next few weeks and adding more tutorials and links etc.

Hopefully this is tidier and easier to read than the previous one, and hopefully more useful too.

Cheers

Seb
Mike Oxhard
Squire
(id: Arnas)
posted 06-21-14 12:09 PM CT (US)     2 / 597       
Welcome back Tatsuo!

HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 06-21-14 03:28 PM CT (US)     3 / 597       
Seb comes back in style

I already said it over at SWS, but welcome back!

~ Forgotten Empires ~

Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

"Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjálfr it sama; ek veit einn at aldri deyr, dómr um dauðan hvern." - Hávamál 77.
Seonid
Squire
posted 06-21-14 04:01 PM CT (US)     4 / 597       
Excellent! It's always good to have an updated source of information.
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-23-14 12:19 PM CT (US)     5 / 597       
I have a few modding questions...

How do you add extra icons instead of replacing existing ones? In AGE you reference the icon by a number that doesn't say from which slp-file it comes, so I deem that rather a difficult trick.

Also I think in his Mod Age of Chivalry Kor was able to replace the loading screen of the original game, the one that appears before you enter the game full-screen. I couldn't find that resource with the MPG to replace it.

Is there any existing help on those questions?

Thanks in advance!
Bala Arizalu
Squire
posted 06-23-14 07:45 PM CT (US)     6 / 597       
Hi Tatsuo. I want to know how to create a new interface for each civ. made in Adobe PS. and import them into the SLP.

John the Late
Knight
posted 06-23-14 07:58 PM CT (US)     7 / 597       
Welcome back and nice new thread!
How do you add extra icons instead of replacing existing ones? In AGE you reference the icon by a number that doesn't say from which slp-file it comes, so I deem that rather a difficult trick.
You open the 50705-50709/50729/50730 slp file in Turtle Pack, you can add an unlimited amount of incons to them with it. In my personal little mod I'm far over 200.
Also I think in his Mod Age of Chivalry Kor was able to replace the loading screen of the original game, the one that appears before you enter the game full-screen. I couldn't find that resource with the MPG to replace it.
Your best bet would be to either ask Kor or to open the gamedata_x1_p1.drs of Age of Chivalry in Turtle Pack.

Turtle Pack 1.4.9
Devious Dev
Official Professional Qualified Noob
(id: dragonslayermcmx)
posted 06-24-14 02:41 AM CT (US)     8 / 597       
Welcome back Seb!

Nice thread!

D E V A S T A T O R
Paradise Lost ~ Scored 1st in the ACSC12! ~ Voted Best Cinematic Scenario of 2013 ~ Official Rating: 4.7
Demon Town ~ Scored 1st in the HHC11! ~ "...as unique as an AoK scenario can get." - Panel ~ Official Rating: 4.2

Proud Member of BlackForestStudios
My AoE2 Youtube Channel
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-24-14 06:09 AM CT (US)     9 / 597       
Where are my manners! Welcome back Tatsuo

And thanks, John
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 06-24-14 06:20 AM CT (US)     10 / 597       
Also I think in his Mod Age of Chivalry Kor was able to replace the loading screen of the original game, the one that appears before you enter the game full-screen. I couldn't find that resource with the MPG to replace it.
It's not located in any of the data files; it's the file '00000409.256' in your Age of Empires II\age2_x1 folder. Replace the extension .256 with .bmp to edit, then change it back to .256.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-24-14 07:11 AM CT (US)     11 / 597       
Sebastien
Dark Samurai
posted 06-24-14 09:11 AM CT (US)     12 / 597       
You open the 50705-50709/50729/50730 slp file in Turtle Pack, you can add an unlimited amount of incons to them with it. In my personal little mod I'm far over 200.
I thought this only applied if you were using the userpatch or perhaps hd version?

I remember it being mentioned in the vanilla version of the game, you could add frames to the slp but the game wouldn't recognise the additional frames, even when referencing to them in AGE?

Thanks everyone. Yea, I'm back now. Updates to come soon.
Seonid
Squire
posted 06-24-14 11:20 AM CT (US)     13 / 597       
I use those .slps to add additional frames and the CD version recognizes them just fine for 50730 and 50729 (the unit and tech files). I haven't done extensive testing on the three different building files, because I have just replaced some of the duplicate icons there. I don know that you must replace all 3 (50705, 50706, and 50707) to get replaced icons showing up.
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-24-14 12:06 PM CT (US)     14 / 597       
But, so, Seonid, it works then for both with and without C-Patch? ...so far I've been making my mod compatible with both games that have and haven't the C-patch installed. Would I need to restrict to the C-patch if I wanted to use Turtlepack? Or what do you call the 'CD' version?

Thanks in Advance

[This message has been edited by Khan Ivayl (edited 06-24-2014 @ 12:07 PM).]

John the Late
Knight
posted 06-24-14 12:47 PM CT (US)     15 / 597       
The building icon files are related to the "build set" number of civilisations in the data. I think it's a relict from AoE, where each buildset had unique icons per building.
Seonid
Squire
posted 06-24-14 01:21 PM CT (US)     16 / 597       
As far as I know, you can replace it directly in the graphics.drs file, which is compatible with the pre-c patch versions.
John the Late
Knight
posted 06-24-14 03:28 PM CT (US)     17 / 597       
Example: You add an icon to 50705.slp in the drs, but not to 50706 etc. -> not all civs have it shown. (If I remember correctly, haven't done any modding in 2+ months.)
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-25-14 06:52 AM CT (US)     18 / 597       
Ok, it definitely works... I already started shoving around icons... as you might have noticed in Age of Vampires some of the games original icons were sacrificed for the new ones... I am now reversing parts of this process.

There's only one little problem... I get blue lines around the icons, although I made sure to anchor them right, is this something I am doing wrong or a flaw in the programm?

Greets,

Ivo
Seonid
Squire
posted 06-25-14 09:23 AM CT (US)     19 / 597       
When you import the icon into the .slp file, one of the options (a little checkbox) is labeled auto selection mask. You should have this unchecked if you are adding icons.

Leave it checked when you are editing units, though.
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-27-14 05:46 AM CT (US)     20 / 597       
How best to make a technology abolish the Gold cost for a unit? I've seen it in Forgotten Empires, but it seems easier said than done... I've tried the attribute modifier as set, as +/- and as multiply. Nothing works^^
John the Late
Knight
posted 06-27-14 07:12 AM CT (US)     21 / 597       
To be honest, I would just open the AoFE data and look at the "Mercenaries" tech.
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 06-27-14 07:42 AM CT (US)     22 / 597       
Too much work right now... I am not installing a third mod, uninstalling, installing the other again... sorry^^
Seonid
Squire
posted 06-27-14 09:22 AM CT (US)     23 / 597       
AoFE uses the Userpatch, so it is installed without overwriting the base game files. The data file can be found in the Games subfolder (created on install), and the base game (or whatever modded version you are using) can be run without uninstalling AoFE. Age of Chivalry is the same way, and the update to Tales of Middle Earth, when it gets here, will have the same functionality.

As for getting rid of the gold cost, I just use attribute set and set it to 0. That's always worked for me...
TheLastMonk
Squire
posted 07-06-14 06:19 AM CT (US)     24 / 597       
Hey, im a real newbie to aoe modding, i have turtle pack but i have no idea how to use it or how to install modpacks i've downloaded. Is there a tutorial anywhere for this? thanks.
Possidon
Slayer
posted 07-07-14 04:48 PM CT (US)     25 / 597       
I haven't actually made any Mods since I was using MPS. What the best way to turn an image into an SLP without MPS, seeing as I have 68bit Win 7. I've got turtle Pack but don't know how to create an SLP with a certain BMP Graphic I created.
John the Late
Knight
posted 07-08-14 03:15 PM CT (US)     26 / 597       
I tend to just open a slp and add the new image(s) to it and delete the old one(s).
Khan Ivayl
Squire
posted 07-10-14 08:31 AM CT (US)     27 / 597       
Forgive for aksing all so basic questions, but how do you create extra help-text files, such that you don't need to overwrite existing ones?

Greets,

Ivo
Seonid
Squire
posted 07-10-14 09:42 AM CT (US)     28 / 597       
I use AGE3, which has the save text functionality. Just find an unused number (for organization purposes, it helps to stay within the number range of the other help-texts) and type what you want in. Copy-pasting from another help-text is preferred to preserve formatting, as there is a hidden /newline element in most help-texts.

Make sure to have the "Write language files" button checked.
John the Late
Knight
posted 07-10-14 10:37 AM CT (US)     29 / 597       
It's not hidden, it's shown as a box. And if you press enter, the next time you see that dll entry, a new line symbol will be created in the right place.

I definitely recommend AGE's dll editing function over using Anolis Resourcer or ResHacker. It has never given me any problems and can add new entries without any additional work required.
aoe_scout
Squire
posted 07-10-14 01:31 PM CT (US)     30 / 597       
Sorry, but I'll have to disagree with you. I had problems and other people in the A.G.E thread too. I wouldn't recommend using A.G.E. for any more advanced dll editing as the program is just not reliable for this kind of work (sometimes it bugs your dll-s). Any decent resource editor is better ("Pebble" and "Resource Editor FX" for example are good) if you want to change more than a few lines.

AFAIK the dll editing module in A.G.E. was never improved and will likely remain the same. If I remember correctly, Keisari Tapsa said this is not something he is very familiar with and is not a priority. The program is a .dat editor anyway, not a dll editor.

UPatch HD - the unofficial (HD) patch for Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome - HD resolution, HD quality interface graphics, hundreds of bug fixes, new gameplay options and many other enhancements.
--- Download here (version 1.1 Release 3).
--- For more information visit the site.

[This message has been edited by aoe_scout (edited 07-10-2014 @ 01:44 PM).]

John the Late
Knight
posted 07-10-14 01:58 PM CT (US)     31 / 597       
It can only bug your dll if it was already corrupted by another editor. In almost 2 years of working on the same dll (of course I made backups ), AGE has not given me a single problem with it. The few times that my dll was broken that happened after editing it with another program. But I guess that this is also a matter of personal preference.
aoe_scout
Squire
posted 07-10-14 02:26 PM CT (US)     32 / 597       
No, I'm sure I haven't edited it with another editor before that (and it shouldn't make any difference anyway as long as you use a proper program), this was discussed in the A.G.E. thread. Personally I prefer to be on the safe side, as I'm not making a simple mod. I don't find it inconvenient to work with another program. On the contrary - it allows me to see everything at a glance, use Search/Replace (to be sure I haven't forgotten something) and have much more control over every text in the game.

But as you said, that's personal preference. Just keep in mind that A.G.E. may cause you trouble with dll-s and make frequent backups.

UPatch HD - the unofficial (HD) patch for Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome - HD resolution, HD quality interface graphics, hundreds of bug fixes, new gameplay options and many other enhancements.
--- Download here (version 1.1 Release 3).
--- For more information visit the site.

[This message has been edited by aoe_scout (edited 07-10-2014 @ 02:29 PM).]

John the Late
Knight
posted 07-12-14 12:25 PM CT (US)     33 / 597       
So I was about to make a field hospital unit with type 80 and class 18. Now the problem I have is that if it has 0 speed, the building apparently cannot heal other units. If it has more than 0 speed, it can heal units but not br moved, which is all good. The real problem is that once this building is attacked, it will run away from the enemy, looking extremely odd.

Does anyone know how to fix this?
moddingnoob
Squire
posted 07-17-14 09:49 PM CT (US)     34 / 597       
@JohntheLate - I hate things like that with modding! - It's like a bubble in the carpet, you stomp down one thing and some other weirdness pops up somewhere else.

I haven't tried to do exactly what you're doing- but if you still haven't got this working, here are some hacky suggestions to try:

- Maybe try and hack something like restricting the terrain that the building can move on?

- Or maybe, like deer (which have a speed multiplier in their graphic class for fleeing), give the building a moving graphic with a new speed multiplier of zero?

- Possibly make the actual healing capable unit an Annex or Stack unit to the field hospital, so it cannot be "attacked" directly? (I often crash the game engine when I muck around with Annexes in obscure ways though).

Note that you should make sure the unit doesn't have the "run away when attacked" behaviour - don't have AGE with me, so can't remember exactly what the other options are, but this is on the left side of the unit editor somewhere from memory - Attack Mode or something(?)

[This message has been edited by moddingnoob (edited 07-17-2014 @ 10:21 PM).]

John the Late
Knight
posted 07-18-14 02:29 PM CT (US)     35 / 597       
- Maybe try and hack something like restricting the terrain that the building can move on?

- Or maybe, like deer (which have a speed multiplier in their graphic class for fleeing), give the building a moving graphic with a new speed multiplier of zero?
Interesting ones, I will try when I find the time.
- Possibly make the actual healing capable unit an Annex or Stack unit to the field hospital, so it cannot be "attacked" directly? (I often crash the game engine when I muck around with Annexes in obscure ways though).
Annex units are extremely powerful, but yeah they can be a little crashy sometimes. If you don't forget to set a proper head unit, they should be stable for the most part, though.
Note that you should make sure the unit doesn't have the "run away when attacked" behaviour - don't have AGE with me, so can't remember exactly what the other options are, but this is on the left side of the unit editor somewhere from memory - Attack Mode or something(?)
That one never worked for me, so far.
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