For my first "real" contribution for baldursgate.com, here is a short guide and "todo's" for those who want to modify or cheat in Baldur's Gate. I, for one, spent weeks just trying to figure out what WeiDU and NearInfinity were before I entered my first script! It's my hope that this short "guide for pre-beginners" will help someone out later down the road.
In looking through posts and blogs and the myriad of information on modifying Baldur's gate (or using the cheat codes, for that matter), most of these posts assume that you already have certain knowledge and that you have already set up certain aspects of your system for your modification. I, for one, spent about 4 weeks struggling through posts, blogs, etc. before I could begin my very first mod. (Not that I'm an experienced modder, for that matter; at this time, I'm still stumbling through my first!)
Even if you are a modder, or if you are just out to use cheat codes in the game, you may still wish to read through this short guide.STEP 1:
Install Baldur's Gate 2. This may seem to go without saying, but let's be more specific: "If you are using Windows VISTA or later (as most of us are), Install Baldur's Gate 2 outside of the 'PROGRAMS' Folder". Windows VISTA and later operating systems are created with computer networks in mind. In computer networking, folders and files are assigned "owners" and each "user" (you are a "user") are assigned "permissions"; which basically tells the computer "how much" access you have to the files. To use cheat codes or modify Baldur's Gate, we need full access to Baldur's Gate files. Post-XP windows protects program files by assigning the "system" iteslf as the "owner" and restricts access to many files and folders within the "Programs" folder. It is an important aspect of Post-XP security as by restricting this access, we are further protected from malicious software. But this gets in the way of modders and cheaters; so, if you have installed Baldur's Gate 2 in your "Programs" folder, grab whatever files/characters/saved games you want to keep and copy them elsewhere, uninstall, erase the folder, and reinstall. You want to reinstall at the root of your C drive; so, when the installer asks you where to install, we want to see something like this: C:\FolderName -- In my case, I kept the folder name very short and simple: BG2. My installation prompt looked like this: C:\BG2STEP 2:
Claim Ownership. With Post-XP Windows, the "owner" of your files and folders is most often the computer itself. We don't want that, especially if you are going to modify the files therein. Many have difficulties with such things are removing the "read only" attributes of your files and folders. The reason is because you don't "own" the folder; the computer does. We can claim ownership ownership of files and folders in our computers from the system with various utility programs out there. Here is a link to one such utility (I'm not sure if it is the one I am using, but it should work): http://www.afterdawn.com/software/system_tools/misc_system_tools/take_ownership_shell_extension.cfm
This, and others like it, add a right-click menu option for our files and folders, "Take Ownership". Installing this utility and using it on your folders and/or files empowers us to have the full control of our files and folders. Download this, or another utility like it, and use it on your Baldur's Gate installation.STEP 3:
Remove "Read Only" Attributes. Another safety protocol of Post-XP Windows is automatically assigning a "read only" attribute to program files and folders. This was the reason for step 2: We often have great difficulty removing these attributes without "owning" the folder. So, for Step #3, we access our Command prompt, then type this: --- Attrib -r -s c:\FolderName --- In my case, the command looked like this: --- Attrib -r -s c:\bg2 --- Now, if you click on "properties" of your folders, you will still see that aggravating "read only" attribute lit up; but, you won't see that same attribute on your files. That is what we want. After completing Step 3, you now have full control over your Baldur's Gate files. If you are here just for "cheat codes", you can skip this step.STEP 4:
Enable Cheats. "Cheat codes" are misnamed; they are really "Test Codes". They are put into place to allow BETA testers to create given game conditions to test the programming and scripting of games. If we are going to "cheat" into existance our "Equalizer", we need access to the cheat (test) codes. If we are going to test our scripts, we will need to create the proper game conditions. So: Open your "Baldur's Gate" folder, then open the file named "baldur.ini" with a text editor (NotePad works great). Under the heading [PROGRAM OPTIONS] type this: --- Debug Mode = 1 --- After you save the file, you will now have access to your console and your cheat/test codes. If you are reading this simply to cheat, you don't need to go any further. One of the most comprehensive lists of codes for Baldur's Gate can be found here: http://mikesrpgcenter.com/bgate2/index.htmlSTEP 5:
Get WeiDU. What is WeiDU? WeiDU is a compiler used to change the scripts we create to machine language so that Baldur's Gate can understand our scripting and modification. You're not going to modify Baldur's Gate without it. Downloads for WeiDU can be found here: http://weidu.org/
-- The latest version is Version 236; that's the one we want. Click the link, download it, create a new folder in your "Baldur's Gate" installation and move WeiDU there. Without WeiDU, all your scripting will be nothing but pretty text in a file.STEP 6:
Get NearInfinity. Baldur's Gate and a few other games (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) uses a game engine called "Infinity". NearInfinity is a utility that allows us access to the Infinity engine and files. With NearInfinity, we can view, modify and create items, areas, creatures, characters etc. You will need NearInfinity to perform (or simplify) many of our Baldur's Gate modifications. We can find NearInfinity here: http://www.idi.ntnu.no/~joh/ni/download.html
-- Just follow the instructions on that web page to install NearInfinity in your Baldur's Gate folder.STEP 7: Begin!
You now have the basics of your system and primary software needed to begin your modification of Baldur's Gate 2. Good luck and have fun! (I am!)