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Area modding: dispelling the .pvrz myth

YovanethYovaneth Member Posts: 689
You've probably heard that BG:EE areas are now created with a new tileset format called .pvrz and you're wondering how to get around this problem because DLTCEP can't create them (yet).

You do not need to be able to create pvrz tilesets to create new areas in BG:EE and BG2:EE. The existing area creation techniques are sufficient using .tis tilesets. These will still show up in both games provided that you also deliver the required area files.

So what's the difference? In visual terms, absolutely nothing. In package terms, .pvrz files occupy approximately 25% of the space occupied by a .tis file so this makes complete sense when trying to package the game for iPads etc.. The Infinity Engine still knows almost nothing about .pvrz files; what Overhaul have cleverly done is to modify the .tis file so that when the Infinity Engine calls for an area tileset the .tis file modifies the call to load the .pvrz files. I say almost nothing because the IE will load .pvrz files without the .tis shim file but the result is an on-screen train wreck.

One last thing: there are commercial and demo tools that will convert from .bmp to .pvrz but they are of no use here because the end result is a slightly different format. Sort of like Windows .bmp and DIB; most graphics programs will display both but when you start to look closely at the format, a Windows bitmap is not the same as a Linux/Unix generated bitmap.

Someone want to sticky this?


  • YovanethYovaneth Member Posts: 689
    @cerevant You got any handy electronic post-it notes?
  • CerevantCerevant Member Posts: 2,314
  • ArchaicArchaic Member Posts: 924
    Thank you for shedding some light on .pvrz files.
  • AK47AK47 Member Posts: 28
    That is insightful. Many thanks !
  • prophet1prophet1 Member Posts: 172
    Bump. If this useful post ever was a sticky, it no longer is.
  • IsayaIsaya Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 752
    Funny that someone brings this topic back on the first page.

    Actually it's not impossible to edit pvrz and have them back into the game. I used the PVRTexTool from Imagination Technology. You need to sign up, it's free, but you accept an NDA so probably it's not possible to share the specifications of the PVR format.
    Using the format specification or the SDK tools it's possible to determine the format to use when converting back from png to pvr. For instance, AR330001.pvrz (1024x1024 pixels, second pvrz starting from the top left of the area) uses BC1 format. After editing, I used BC1 encoding, from list of applicable ones for DirectX 9-10-11, without minimaps, to create the new PVR file. Although it added 15 bytes of metadata compared to the original file (or so says PVRTexTool), the file still works in game.

    Here is an example of a modified pvrz in Beregost (for lack of graphic skill or better idea, I signed my test ;-) ). The file is attached, just drop it in the override.

    For big areas, it may be possible to use them if you stick multiples of 1024. However in case of smaller ones, it looks really weird: the second picture is from the ground floor of the Low Lantern tavern in Baldur's Gate, for those who couldn't recognize it (I wouldn't if I didn't know). I hope there is some way to make the links in the header part of the new TIS format or in the WED. Otherwise I have no idea how it can worked out.
    The same kind of weirdness can be observed for the remaing parts of Beregost for all blocks covering beyond the multiple of 1024x1024.
  • YovanethYovaneth Member Posts: 689
    In addition, I understand that the pvrz format in BG2:EE is different from BG:EE (better optimisation), but how and why I don't know because I didn't need to work on the graphics in BG2:EE.
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