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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » The University » New UI for mods (Approved)
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Topic Subject:New UI for mods (Approved)
Erechel
Squire
posted 08-11-13 00:05 AM CT (US)         
This article has been approved and can also be read at the University. - Leif Ericson

Well, I'm a bit nervous because I never have posted anything in the University Forum, but this question is in a few posts throughout the Aok heaven forums, and I have some information regarded to it, by testing infinite times on this subject: changing the User Interface.

THE BASICS

Every mod has to have a properly designed UI for each civilization. It's not very accurate that the new civilization of the -for example- Zulus to have an User Interface from the Japanese or the Goths.

A Total Conversion Mod is specially praised if it has unique designed UIs for each civilization changed. Let's take for example my A Song of Ice and Fire mod, a Game of Thrones. Its really a buggy thing that the Night's Watch, namely the Man in Black, builded in the place of the Koreans, to have the colorful blue and red UI from this civilization.

So we have to change it. For doing this, we have to use one of the grahic programs: Mod Pack Studio, Turtle Pack, or the many others.

I prefer the Turtle Pack. It's very user-friendly, and, altough it has its tricks, it's an easy program to use. With Mod Pack Studio we can do it anyway, but you have to replace the gaphics, and you cannot add new ones -but, for this topic, it would be useful anyway.

THE DRS LIBRARY
Once we have chosen the program, it's time to open the library, and found the graphic we want to replace. The Interface Graphics are in the Data folder, in the Interfac.drs library. We can open it with the DRS editor of Turtle Pack, a program that allows us to see, extract and replace the SLPs that we want. Then we can use the SLP editor to see, extract, create the SLP or replace the bitmaps from an existing one.

I'll give you a list of the User Interface SLPs in the DRS Library:

INT51101UI English small
INT51102UI Franks small
INT51103UI Goths small
INT51104UI Teutons small
INT51105UI Japanese small
INT51106UI Chinese small
INT51107UI Bizantines small
INT51108UI Persian small
INT51109UI Saracen small
INT51110UI Turkish small
INT51111UI Viking small
INT51112UI mongol small
INT51113UI Celts small
INT51114UI Spanish small
INT51115UI mayan small
INT51116UI aztec small
INT51117UI Huns small
INT51118UI Koreans small
INT51121UI English medium
INT51122UI Franks medium
INT51123UI Goths medium
INT51124UI teutons medium
INT51125UI japanese medium
INT51126UI Chinese medium
INT51127UI bizantines medium
INT51128UI Persian medium
INT51129UI saracen medium
INT51130UI turkish medium
INT51131UI viking medium
INT51132UI mongol medium
INT51133UI Celts medium
INT51134UI Spanish medium
INT51135UI mayan medium
INT51136UI Aztec medium
INT51137UI Huns medium
INT51138UI Koreans medium
INT51141UI English Large
INT51142UI Franks Large
INT51143UI Goths Large
INT51144UI teutons Large
INT51145UI japanese Large
INT51146UI Chinese Large
INT51147UI bizantines Large
INT51148UI Persian Large
INT51149UI saracen Large
INT51150UI turkish Large
INT51151UI viking Large
INT51152UI mongol Large
INT51153UI Celts Large
INT51154UI Spanish Large
INT51157UI mayan Large
INT51158UI Aztec Large
INT51159UI Huns Large
INT51160UI Koreans Large


Small, medium and large are the sizes used by the game for different screen resolutions. Make shure that you make one UI for every size, or at least warn the downloaders that you only have changed the UIs in x resolution. The equation is simple, larger resolutions use larger UIs. There you choose what to replace.

CREATING THE SLP

Let's discuss something else. I've cracking my head on the walls in this particular topic: You extract the SLP, then you go to the SLP editor and extract the bitmap, then you edit that, and try to replace the bitmap in the SLP with the new one.
It's all there, I'll wait until you have learned the basics of the program.

You are sure that you are doing everything OK, and even choose the auto mask off and the transparency in the 255 value, but... there is not transparencies. The user interface look like this:



The transparent (white) screen is white, and there it is all sort of odd transparencies troughout the UI (background in pink).

This is because the program recognizes the last line as the transparent mask. It doesn't really matters that you choose auto transparent or 255: if you try, every time the program launches the same values.

There are two solutions:

-first: you leave a line whit a random colour, the same you use for the screen, let's say magenta (value 252). It recognizes now the transparent screen. Now you set the anchor in x0 y0 (this is important: the X in the screen MUST be exactly in the left superior edge), save the SLP, replace the SLP in the DRS, save, and voilà you have the UI correctly placed... but there it is a nasty magenta or white line in the bottom of the screen. No way to fix it: it will be there always. So

-Second Solution: go to the Paint or the program you use, select the BMP, and then go to the Image option, and then inverse colours. Or directly, press CTRL +I:



Then you see the Ui like this:


Then, all you have to do is select the bucket option, and paint the screen pitch black, like this:



Then, inverse the colours again, and save. But remember ALWAYS inverse the colours and paint pitch black the transparent area AS THE LAST ACTION BEFORE SAVING. Every other change in the picture will return the 255 white to another white value. The real 255 white is the opposite colour to the pitch black. Then when we have it done, we save, and replace the picture in the SLP for our new UI, set anchor to x0-y0, replace the correspondant SLP in the DRS, save and voilà, we have the fancy North UI -in this case, replacing the celtic UI INT51133-:
.

Cheers, and I hope it could be useful.

-PD-By the way, excuse me by my english. I'm a spanish speaker with only High School english lessons.

[This message has been edited by Leif Ericson (edited 08-17-2014 @ 06:15 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Mike Oxhard
Squire
(id: Arnas)
posted 08-20-13 07:19 PM CT (US)     1 / 16       
Great tutorial, Erechel. But do you know how to make interfaces for expansions and not convertion mods?

Erechel
Squire
posted 08-24-13 02:51 PM CT (US)     2 / 16       
I suposse that it's the same thing. I did not really made an expansion, so I do not know how to refer a civilization to a specific Interfac SLP. I'm limited to work with things that are already in game. I recommend you to explore expansions and see what is different in the Interfac.drs.
Ultimatrix
Squire
posted 10-05-13 03:36 AM CT (US)     3 / 16       
Good work , i saw ur slps in the last pics u r awsome man i think u should take part in OUTLANDS expansion and share theese amazing units with them

+ i want u to make a slps guide as i see u r pro in this stuff

[This message has been edited by Ultimatrix (edited 10-05-2013 @ 03:37 AM).]

Leif Ericson
Seraph Emeritus
posted 08-17-14 06:15 PM CT (US)     4 / 16       
This article has been added to the University!

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aoe_scout
Squire
posted 08-18-14 05:36 AM CT (US)     5 / 16       
2 important notes about UserPatch:

- UserPatch doesn't show the middle picture of the lower interface bar, except for old resolutions. It uses parts of the middle image (the corners) to generate a repeating pattern with which it fills this part of the interface. This is done to accommodate different length of the interface bar for different resolutions. Similar method is applied to the top interface bar as well.
- When adding new civilizations with UserPatch (it's the only way to do it), you set the number of additional interface slp files in the .xml file of your mod. The parameters are listed in the Adding New Civs Tutorial.

Most people will use UserPatch at least for the resolutions, few will want to play in 1024x768 or 1280x1024 (the original resolutions), so these notes have to be considered.

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.
Erechel
Squire
posted 07-03-15 05:33 PM CT (US)     6 / 16       
Thank you, guys! I've have not being in this forum for a long time now -I became a father, so...-, but now I'm back on the track!
HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 07-03-15 05:59 PM CT (US)     7 / 16       
Congratulations and welcome back!

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But the good name never dies of one who has done well." - Hávamál

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Jan dc
Squire
(id: Den cekke)
posted 07-03-15 06:21 PM CT (US)     8 / 16       
It's a very good tutorial, the only thing that bugs me a bit is that a great part of it is about Paint. With Gimp and Photoshop CS2 being free, I feel it's a bit unnecessary as they work very different from paint and are capable of much more so more people will use those programs instead of paint.
v1sv1s
Squire
posted 08-24-16 04:54 PM CT (US)     9 / 16       
I checked the data set of the new expansion (African Kingdoms). There is no interface.drs rather all the slp files are individual. However, the user interface slp's you mentions (i.e 5xxxx) don't exist there. Do you know how to locate these files in the new expansions?

Great tutorial though!
Vardamir
Huskarl
posted 08-25-16 07:46 AM CT (US)     10 / 16       
They're in resources/_common/drs/gamedata_x2

AoK: Realms
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Genie Converter - an AKX installer for modern times
v1sv1s
Squire
posted 08-25-16 10:10 AM CT (US)     11 / 16       
@ Vardamir: Ok it looks like they changed the interface slps. The 5***** slps in gamedata_x2 folder are there but the game runs fine even if I modify/remove those files. So I digged in a bit more and found "game_b*" slp files in "in resources/_common/slp" and this slps are numbered from 1 - 27. Changing them affects the civ interfaces, so for example Berber is slp 27.

There is one issue though: in Turtle Pack these slps appear with messed up colors, and its impossible to see the designs.
v1sv1s
Squire
posted 11-20-16 00:42 AM CT (US)     12 / 16       
Hi,

I am trying to edit UI in Userpatch version. There always seems to be weird white/pink lines in the top and bottom edges. Is there any trick to get rid of it? Also there is a persistent white line in the upper edge of the middle-bottom panel (i.e the civ symbol part that Userpatch repeats to make larger resolutions). I have tried the methods mentioned in this article and its still there.

My editing turns out fine for other slps and HD version UI slps (which are set up differently than AoC). Any suggestion would be highly helpful

Thanks

[This message has been edited by v1sv1s (edited 11-20-2016 @ 00:43 AM).]

Bala Arizalu
Squire
posted 11-20-16 04:42 PM CT (US)     13 / 16       
v1sv1s
Squire
posted 11-22-16 11:55 AM CT (US)     14 / 16       
Hey, that article was helpful The interface color palette works better I think when using Turtle pack to determine the blank colors.

I figured out the reason of the lines after playing around for some time: I didn't untick the "auto selection mask" box when importing an image. If it is selected, it automatically creates a pixel of blank border around the image so the image size changes slightly (1024/768 becomes 1026/770) and the game renders the that image.

Thanks again

Also, another issue regarding slp: some slp files give an error "failed to decode slp images". Its happening with the Mongol's UI (HD version, file game_b12) and I can't open it. Any solution to this?

[This message has been edited by v1sv1s (edited 11-22-2016 @ 12:03 PM).]

salinanance
Banned
posted 05-04-17 11:09 AM CT (US)     15 / 16       
Thank you. This is a very useful article.
I found a similar article, it may be useful for someone.

That's not an article. - Leif Ericson

[This message has been edited by Leif Ericson (edited 05-05-2017 @ 01:05 AM).]

TriRem
Huskarl
posted 05-04-17 03:00 PM CT (US)     16 / 16       
You are so getting banned mate.

Fluctuat nec mergitur.
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