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Thread: Question to Timetraveller re. modding + .MPAK files

Question to Timetraveller re. modding + .MPAK files

  1. #26
    Originally Posted by chip5541
    A patch is in the works as games labeled being 1.1 have been seen.
    Thank you chip, but the only thing that will deal with is connection issues and maybe some viddy issues.
    Now I'm looking for patch 2.0 'the mappack'. The single player maps for multi play and the multi player maps with unit placement changes. The history lesson thing is nice and all, but lets just get this game into gaming gear.
    I've been hanging in with this game all winter and I think I'm going to be giving up on it. MY gaming group are mostly playing Warcrack or Vegas this winter. I hate Warcrack because I don't like D+D games. (no crap about Warcrack not being D+D, it is to me!), and screw Vegas. I gave up on UBI games after Lockdown. They will never get another dime out of me. Oh, and I've done so much BF, BF2, BF2142 my eyes have going crooked.
    So I'm off to see what's out there for the PC market.
    I will play, but I'm surely not relying, at this time, on any great intervention from Eidos to get this game moving at the speed it needs to be for the PC gamers.
    But 12 year olds with Xbox are having a blast with this game. Yeah, I'm so glad for the 12 year olds. They never have games made for them.

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    18
    Originally Posted by Tex Vindictive
    Blaze, what did you use to open the file in this format?
    Notepad but I downloaded the file from Xentax.com I think it has already been uncopressed or what ever you call it.

    I do not have the game yet so can not try it in the game files.

  3. #28
    Originally Posted by I3laze
    Notepad but I downloaded the file from Xentax.com I think it has already been uncopressed or what ever you call it.

    I do not have the game yet so can not try it in the game files.
    I used that but it was still in binary. I am terrible with these things.

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    18
    Originally Posted by Thedivingmongoose
    I used that but it was still in binary. I am terrible with these things.
    After unraring I right clicked the file and selected open, It asked me how to open and I chose open with notepad and unchecked the checkbox as not to open all mpak files all the time with notepad.

    Hope that helps

  5. #30
    Originally Posted by I3laze
    After unraring I right clicked the file and selected open, It asked me how to open and I chose open with notepad and unchecked the checkbox as not to open all mpak files all the time with notepad.

    Hope that helps
    Thx. Sorry for the stupid question...but I think more may be on the way from me.

  6. #31
    Looking at the files I see a lot of dds. stuff. Some type of renderer or plotting software is made to open the file and you can view the textures. The dds. files are texture files. Probable need something like an Unreal editor are something like that.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    19
    Originally Posted by Tex Vindictive
    Looking at the files I see a lot of dds. stuff. Some type of renderer or plotting software is made to open the file and you can view the textures. The dds. files are texture files. Probable need something like an Unreal editor are something like that.
    The problem is that the data in the .MPAK archives is compressed (to save disk space), like in a Winzip .ZIP file (though not exactly the same, otherwise the archives would be readable by Winzip!) - there is no way to read the data without decompressing it - everything just appears as a random-looking jumble of bytes, other than the list of file names at the start of the archive.
    (Unfortunately the "MPAK" site linked to earlier has nothing to do with BS:M, the name is just a coincidence! The Unreal editor is of no use either, as this game does not use the Unreal engine.)

    If an unpacker program is ever created, however, you're right that the textures and graphics will certainly be moddable, as .DDS is a common format for images in games - plugins are widely available to allow programs like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro etc. to read DDS files.

  8. #33
    Originally Posted by Drawde
    The Unreal editor is of no use either, as this game does not use the Unreal engine.)
    Oh I know the Unreal engine is no good. Just pointing out that you need some type of engine(like Unreal), You know what I mean.

    So who's rendering engine did they use in this game? That's the question.

    Also, I don't think we would ever see a SDK for this.
    The community will have to mod this game for people if anybody is still going to stick around to play it.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    19
    You can download "plugins" for apps like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro which allow you to open and edit .DDS files. (Here's a download link.) Loads of games use DDS files nowadays for textures and other images. The Battlefield series is one example.
    I'm guessing the game's engine was created by the developers themselves, probably based on the engine they used for Nexus.

    I certainly agree with your last point - this was the reason I made the original post in the first place. Maybe if some form of unpacker/extractor utility is created then this will open the door for less technically-skilled modders like me (and probably many others) to create modified missions, new sounds, repainted plane/ship skins etc. Doesn't seem to be much in the way of progress on Xentax.com however!

  10. #35
    That "0_mm_MMission03" is the "Islands of Solomons" multiplayer map.

    Edit: Forgot quotes

  11. #36

    Red Face (Embarrassed)

    we all have these moments..... bump

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    3
    Bump
    Perhaps a new bump is needed for the Xentax forum?

    http://forum.xentax.com/viewtopic.php?t=2484

  13. #38
    Thanks but that was back in April. I went through the files just to see if I could place ships in other areas on the maps, but you just can't make heads or tails of it. I did some rescripting back with the first star wars battlefront but this script really makes no sense to me at this time. Hope someone can find out where the breaks in the script are and which represents each actor. Otherwise we just have to wait for BS2 with some editing abilities. Thanks for the info.

  14. #39
    Originally Posted by Drawde
    I'll try this, though I don't expect any results!
    Moddability - even if nothing more than editing of text files and the ability to replace/modify graphics and sounds - could completely transform this game; I'm guessing the missions themselves are text files (could be wrong though) which will make them easy to modify (even the ability to swap around ship and plane types in the SP and MP missions would add to replayability). And if the actual data files and scripts are in text format, all sorts of things will be possible, such as realism mods (increased ship gun range, etc.)

    I am certainly not expecting any official support for this (possibly in a sequel or expansion, if there is one, but who knows when that will be) so it looks like it's up to the fans.
    God bless you !

  15. #40

    Rolleyes Any new info?

    Just curious, if any more has been learned about modding this game and uncompressing the mpak files. I did alot of modding of the old Destroyer Command game, but of course its files were all text files you could open with word pad. Anyway I just bought BSM on PC after having it on 360 for quite a while, mainly because it was possible to get the DLC for free, lol. And also I figured it would possibly be moddable. However from what I'm seeing here I'm not so sure about modding it now. Anyway, just wanted to see if anyone was still interested in this.

    Regards
    Captain Rockwell Torry

  16. #41
    Originally Posted by Captain Rockwell Torry
    Just curious, if any more has been learned about modding this game and uncompressing the mpak files. I did alot of modding of the old Destroyer Command game, but of course its files were all text files you could open with word pad. Anyway I just bought BSM on PC after having it on 360 for quite a while, mainly because it was possible to get the DLC for free, lol. And also I figured it would possibly be moddable. However from what I'm seeing here I'm not so sure about modding it now. Anyway, just wanted to see if anyone was still interested in this.
    Nope.

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    12
    Originally Posted by Captain Rockwell Torry
    However from what I'm seeing here I'm not so sure about modding it now. Anyway, just wanted to see if anyone was still interested in this.
    Yep, but I know practicaly nil about how to go about opening those files up for modding. I tinkered with them for a while but didn't make a great deal of progress.

  18. #43
    I was looking at the +7 trainer available. How does that work? Would it be possible to mod the game using the same route?

  19. #44
    Originally Posted by Havocwreaker
    I was looking at the +7 trainer available. How does that work? Would it be possible to mod the game using the same route?
    I tried to install it to see how it worked...but I don't know how those things work so I just failed. I also discovered that it doesn't work in the new patch. Probably a good thing except for the fact that we can't use the same method modding unless we don't install updates.

    EDIT: THIS WAS A WHILE BACK( MONTHS) so I don't know if a trainer was updated or whatever.

  20. #45
    I dug around the game directory and found nothing except the mpak files.

    Seems we'll just have to wait until BSM2.

  21. #46

    An Update on Modding

    Been away for a long while and just saw this post...here's an update...

    I had given up on this unpack thing a long time ago because of the frustration level, unknown compression method, and amount of work it would take to unpack the .MPAK files properly using a program interface.

    Yesterday, using a couple of tips I found from your links, I discovered the compression method of game data. Data in .MPAKs is compressed using the tar/gz open source method using zlib. Okay, that led to this....

    Using a hex editor, I stripped off all the garbage in the .MPAKs, then plugged the raw data into zlib, and was able to uncompress one file at a time out of an .MPAK. Most all files excepting images and sound are text-based and modifiable. Missions are very large text files, and that's not the scripted part, just the definition part.

    OK, cool.

    However, and before y'all get excited,

    After several trials, it appears that BSM won't accept modified game files in a "MOD" type folder structure. Perhaps there is a switch of some sort to allow this, but I dunno. This means all changed files would need to be repacked back into their respective .MPAK file.

    To have any functional modding capability, a program must be written to mass extract all the .MPAK files because the hand method is simply too cumbersome. A repacker would then have to be written to get them back into the game. Problem with this is I haven't figured out all the field values in the .MPAK table of contents for repacking (yet)....

    Skinning would be the first thing which might be done with an unpacker/repacker....elsewise, there still is no game mission editor and won't be one unless Eidos makes one for BSM2. So, any mission editing/creation would still have to be done using a text editor, and may not be feasable due to the size an complexity of the files. Mission editors are a highly complicated piece of software to write, the one I wrote for Pacific Storm has been a year in the making and one for BSM ain't gonna happen any time soon by any 3rd party...

    So that's the story for now. It is possible to extract game files, and once the .MPAK table of contents area format is decoded, files could be repacked and you'd probably be able to at least do some skinning and other mods....assuming the game does not have a "changed files" lock of some sort. If I ever get some time I'll play with it some more.

    TT

  22. #47
    Well timetraveller, I appreciate your effort but to edit from the MPAK file won't do anything. That MAPK file is compressed from another software. I tried the hex editor thing but a can't find any common breaks or common placements of DDS file just to redo texture files. The only thing I was looking for in the files was to reposition the ships on maps to have different starting points and change the strategy of the game, but i couldn't make head or tails of the files. i edited with a hex editor before, but you need to know a starting point and finishing point for the area you wish to reedit. Did anyone ever figure out which 3-D rendering engine BSM is using? i know Eidos won't tell us.

  23. #48
    I probably wasn't explicit enough, sorry.

    I've figured out the .MPAK structure enough to unpack files manually and decompress them using zlib. There they are in text format ready to modify. The problem is they must recompressed and repacked into the .MPAK again in order for them to be usable by the game. I don't have all the fields figured out in the .MPAK table of contents structure to do a repack yet.

    If I ever get that figured out, I'll write an unpack/repack program to do everything and we will be in business.

    TT

  24. #49
    Originally Posted by timetraveller
    I'll write an unpack/repack program to do everything and we will be in business.
    More power to you bro. Good luck! That's above my head. But if you did write an unpack/repack program I should would love to play with it.

  25. #50
    Originally Posted by timetraveller
    I probably wasn't explicit enough, sorry.

    I've figured out the .MPAK structure enough to unpack files manually and decompress them using zlib. There they are in text format ready to modify. The problem is they must recompressed and repacked into the .MPAK again in order for them to be usable by the game. I don't have all the fields figured out in the .MPAK table of contents structure to do a repack yet.

    If I ever get that figured out, I'll write an unpack/repack program to do everything and we will be in business.

    TT
    Just keep trying! I really, really appreciate the effort your putting into this. I don't know how to do the things you do but the modding I have tried (on BSM) has ended in failure everytime. Keep it up, please!

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