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Author Topic: Mod Creation  (Read 1877 times)
Soul Reaver
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Mod Creation
« on: February 19, 2013, 11:45:48 pm »

More a technical question than a technical issue...

I'm wondering how difficult it would be to mod in the missing Melnorme MetaChron dialogue and the Mycon mentioning their homeworld location into the voiced version of UQM - assuming that someone recorded an audio file with sufficiently good dialogue for such a mod.

I've made a mod or two before, though never for UQM, and haven't ever touched C programming.

There are a number of things I'm curious about:

- How are mods created?  Are they just bits of C code and the required media resources, compiled and then compressed into a .zip (eg, .uqm) file?
- How do mod packages work?  Do they just kind of 'override' or modify the existing base code in some way when in the right directory, or would they typically only work if the modifications were compiled into the base source code itself?
- Does UQM already include the necessary flags for reinstating dialogue like this (eg, a flag that checks for the Melnornme has already gone through the MetaChron dialogue before)?  If not, how difficult is it to mod new flags into the game?
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 02:30:05 pm »

A "mod" is created by changing the source code and recompiling it, then distributing the new binary (so we call it a "mod", but it's made more like a fork).

Packages are for the game data. For example, the voice package, 3DO music package, and remix packages. Something found in a package is used in place of the same file in the base game data package (called the "content" package, e.g. "uqm-0.7.0-content.uqm"). Packages are just ZIP files, though the standard packages are given the ".uqm" extension instead of ".zip".

I don't think, from my understanding of UQM, that any "flags" are needed for the MetaChron dialog; just put it into one of the lines that only shows up once. I think this is what the original DOS version does; it's in the intro that comes before the Keel-Verezy mention (that he was just talking with a Keel-Verezy captain). So all you need is a package replacing this particular part of the dialog.
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 10:14:33 am »

Ok, I've been looking at the packages and the code a bit.  Here's some of the stuff I found out:

Base package (uqm-0.7.0-content.uqm):
This contains all the text strings needed for the dialogue (as a .txt file).  These are divided into various 'dialogue chunks' (eg, there's a chunk for when the melnorme meets captain for the first time, another chunk for the second meeting, a chunk for his response to aggression, etc etc)

Voice package (uqm-0.7.0-voice.uqm):
Contains all the individual voice files (in .ogg format) for each 'dialogue chunk'.  It also defines the duration of each line of audio for any multi-line 'dialogue chunks' in a .ts file (one of these exists for each 'species')

The main source code:
This defines when the game uses the various 'dialogue chunks'.

What I think this means:
Given the right .ogg file, it wouldn't be hard to change the audio and/or displayed text for any EXISITNG 'dialogue chunk' - these can be modified via modifications to the base and voice packages.  However, any attempt to CREATE a new 'dialogue chunk' would require modifiying and recompiling the UQM source code itself so the game makes use of the additional content.

Can anyone confirm if I'm right?  Or is there some easier way of modifying/overrding the source code with another package?
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 08:01:36 pm »

You are right. Though in the future, we would like to also move the dialog structure themselves to the content.
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 08:10:22 pm »

Interesting.  That would certainly make modifying it a lot easier.

I don't want to promise anything (since I don't tend to have huge amounts of spare time), but I'll see if I can modify and compile the source code succesfully.  If yes, I'll see if I can re-integrate the missing PC dialogue along with some 'dummy' audio.  And if that works, I'll see if I can recruit a voice actor or two to voice the missing sections of dialogue as near as possible to the original voices.

The fact that two crucial pieces of information (ie, the game's time limit and the Mycon homeworld location) are missing from the 3DO version has always bothered me.
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 08:29:33 pm »

You may want to check out this bug report.
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 09:13:49 pm »

Very interesting and possibly very useful.  I also came across thread http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?topic=4166.15 - at the risk of having missed something obvious, I can't seem to access the linked files.  Have they been deleted?

Seeing as there's already a bug entry for the missing Mycon dialogue (with some potential resources), does this mean someone's already working on it (and I'd be doing double-up work trying to add this back in)?  There doesn't seem to have been much in the way of updates since 2007.

Also, upon reviewing the base package further and reading the dialogue version comparisons, it seems that the Melnorme dialogue at least wouldn't require any modification of the source code at all - the Metachron 'dialogue chunk' already exists - just the text and audio doesn't.  Now it's just a matter of getting a good enough recording.  There's a place or two I could go look for that.

I haven't looked further into the Mycon dialogue yet so I'm not sure if that would require any source code modification, but I'm coming to suspect it might not.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 09:56:29 pm by Soul Reaver » Logged

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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 09:01:47 am »

Noone is working on it. I think that the status was that we need someone who is good with sound effects to reproduce the original effect.
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Re: Mod Creation
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 07:26:44 am »

Welp, I've given it a go - only one additional line for the Mycon, using my own voice and a lot of help from a cool dude called Trebor on the Audacity forums.  If this seems good enough, I might try for the other Mycon lines too.  What do you think?

http://www.mediafire.com/?dfnh9ukb07d2t3d
and
http://www.mediafire.com/?q5t4i4exxgr64qk

I'm still trying to get the Melnorme effects sounding right, but this Mycon effect is pretty spot-on, I think.

Edit: Added a second, clearer attempt
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 07:09:18 am by Soul Reaver » Logged

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