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  • CuvCuv Member, Developer Posts: 2,535
    @cmorgan Well now... there is just tons of 'Insightful' in your post... and I have but one 'insightful' that i can give:(

    CrevsDaak
  • BhryaenBhryaen Member Posts: 2,874
    @AndreaColombo
    What? I was at work. If they'd stop calling me to fix machines that aren't broken I could get more BGEE meddling done. >:-) I shall anticipate thy post on the morrow...

    @cmorgan
    Well, let's say the devs entreat @Wisp (may not be an account here, but still) to add a special Item Randomizer to BGEE, and he agrees. He doesn't exactly start from scratch on it, requiring yrs of development. He's already got a mod for it- one with multiple revisions and one he already knows like the back of his graphics card. Of all the people who would be best to ask to contribute or help contribute a random item relocation function to the game, he seems to me like the best person to start with. Then it gets gone-over with a fine-tooth comb by the devs and game testers. >:-) Not being a modder, however, I'm unaware of the demands of such a project... so I admit that in such circumstances I dream a bit more than I conceive.

    On including quest, NPC, and dialog content I entirely agree: no chance, not even worth trying- and for all the reasons you mention and more. But I'd love to get a bunch of such modders together to come up with a system that really works for them in terms of implementation of such mods. Again: they (you) don't start from scratch. It's just a matter of having to adapt what is already known to the code possibilities of the new BG. Your concerns about dialog structures being "left intact" are entirely valid, but then that's why it would be great (IMHO) to get someone like you working on exactly what needs to be done to keep them intact while providing for the maximum game enhancements.

    It's not about just whether the devs can handle modders' requests either. (You didn't say this; I'm just anticipating a misread of my statements in general.) These are the closest we have to "officials" on the subject that there are. It's about making the devs' work that much more facilitated and correctly-oriented. I admit, of course, that a bunch of variegated modders could very well easily fail to come to any consensus at all or have worse ideas than the devs themselves working alone, but I just wonder at how much more ably the devs would be able to "do the right thing" in terms of establishing the mod-friendliness of BGEE if they had modders themselves involved- not just consulted but involved in implementation. Modders aren't exactly lost in BG code, even if they're only able to pitch in just so much... I mean, this is the new BG standard being forged here- for better or worse. I can't help wanting it done right the first time... :-)

    Cuv
  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,351
    edited June 2012
    @Bhryaen, @cmorgan and, since I'm sure they'll be interested in the points modders have to make, also @TrentOster and @CameronTofer
    The matter of WotC gaining "rights" over modders' work has stymied me before, but given that modders aren't exactly profiting from their mods anyway- as well as the bald fact that vanilla BG isn't owned by modders either despite their incursions into it- I'm no longer seeing where a conflict arises. Letting WotC "own" a contribution to BGEE seems an invisible formality since it won't stop a single modder from breaking open the code and having at it anyway however and to the furthest extent they can and wish.
    I'll drop a few words on this. It is true that modders do not profit from their mods, but there is no reason why WotC - or anyone else - ever should. Mods were developed freely and are available freeware for anyone to use: modders didn't get paid to develop the content, and users aren't required to pay to play it. The moment a mod becomes canon as part of BG:EE, WotC makes a profit from it by advertising it as part of BG:EE and selling them in conjuction. Therefore, the author(s) would have basically worked for WotC's profit without getting anything in return but, perhaps, some credit. That sounds totally unfair.

    Also, as I have stated in the thread about the BG2 Fixpack, if a mod becomes intellectual property of WotC, it would then be well within their legal rights to demand that the mod be removed from any third party site currently offering it as a free download. Modders do not own the rights to vanilla Baldur's Gate, and in fact they're not offering it as a free download. They do, however, own the intellectual property of their own mods, which they willingly distribute for free over the internet. Try to do that with WotC's intellectual property and see what their legal department has to say about that ;-)

    Therefore, all mods slavlishly integrated into BG:EE using the modders' original code would most likely become only available as core content in BG:EE, and users who chose to keep playing the vanilla games for whatever reasons wouldn't have access to them anymore, nor could the author(s) continue to develop said mods for the vanilla games and let users download them.
    Of course, I'm primarily thinking here of the sorts of mods that add tweaks and gameplay options, not, say, the bugfix mods which are presumably already being implemented by the dev team in their own way... Nor the plethora of NPC, quest, and dialogue mods that simply have no salience in such a way
    Honestly, I don't see why any mod NPC or quest could or should become canon. It makes absolutely no sense from any angle I try to view it. This kind of mods is, almost by definition, constantly under development as modders tend to improve and tweak their work over the years to make it better. Strong-arm that content into BG:EE and make it canon, and there won't be tweaks any longer: intellectual property of WotC cannot be touched by the devs, or by the legit author(s) of the mod. Also, it is absolutely not granted that all gamers would enjoy this or that NPC or quest, so better leave them as mods for each gamer to choose from freely.

    As for tweaks and gameplay options, my previous point stands: the moment WotC owns the IP, people who keep playing the original games will be left without their (potentially) favorite tweak and gameplay options mods. Which, in case you were wondering, is not cool.
    I can only speak for myself, but I think that the most open way of allowing content and creativity to flourish is to let BG[1,2]:EE use the community bugfixes and cleanup, build the development team's new content, make sure the original vanilla structure is maintained (to ensure mod compatability), make sure WeiDU can read the files, and let modders give players the additional choices when it comes to the tweaks and quest additions and NPCs and such.
    I wholeheartedly agree not only with this statement, but with all of @cmorgan's insightful post.
    I just wonder at how much more ably the devs would be able to "do the right thing" in terms of establishing the mod-friendliness of BGEE if they had modders themselves involved- not just consulted but involved in implementation. Modders aren't exactly lost in BG code, even if they're only able to pitch in just so much... I mean, this is the new BG standard being forged here- for better or worse. I can't help wanting it done right the first time... :-)
    This is exactly my stance.

    Love it or hate it, BG:EE is going to happen. In it, I see potential and opportunity. While it is true that modders can do almost anything with the IE right now, most of they do requires awkward workarounds, hacky coding and installing mods like ToBEx which are specifically designed to overcome engine limitations or fix engine bugs by means, again, of awkward workarounds and hacky coding. By implementing the fixes from ToBEx (without transferring the IP to WotC), for example, BG:EE will be more modder friendly than the original game because it won't require installing a mod just make the engine work as it should in the first place. Extensive bug fixing that can tackle with hard-coded content can potentially eliminate (or greatly reduce) the need for hacky workarounds. Implementation of features like Detectable Spells (maybe even extending them so that a greater number of spells can be considered, and the like) or externalizing previously hard-coded content will give modders more flexibility and more contents to work with.

    Then, there are audio-visual enhancements that modders just could not do because they lack the means (for example, porting the game's audio to OpenAL is something I believe modders could not do; however, for OS from Windows Vista on it was necessary lest several environmental sounds that should be heard, just aren't).

    I believe the devs are only adding new content for marketing purposes, but it is not the main point of BG:EE. They couldn't possibly re-release the same game as 12 years ago with no new content and demand that gamers pay for it again just to get a bunch of smaller technical enhancements (with the loss of the source art assets, graphics can't even be rerendered in high definition) and more modder-friendliness (which most gamers have no idea what it is).

    This is why I'd like modders to be as closely involved in the development of BG:EE as possible. They know the IE better than any other user, and they know what it is needed to increase flexibility and modder-friendliness. They can help ensuring mod-compatibility, as well as modding tool compatibility. Last but not least, they can provide lists of bugs the devs may be unaware of so that they can be fixed (fixing bugs is the devs's job, after all; the only reason why modders had to do it for BG is that there were still so many outstanding bugs when BioWare ceased supporting the original games).


    ON THE COMPATIBILITY OF MODDING TOOLS

    I'm going to ask @cmorgan (or any other modder willing to answer) a question with regards to modding tools such as Near Infinity, WeiDU, DLTCP etc.

    Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that BG:EE has some changes to its structure, but nothing major. Would it be possible to modify these tools so that they are compatible with BG:EE? I guess whatever adaptation may be required, it would still be less work than developing the tool in the first place. Besides, the devs's said (through @TrentOster's words on Twitter) that they are willing to work with modders, so as a post-ship thing they could work with modders on adapting their modding tools to BG:EE if required (we're talking strictly hypothetically, here).

    Also, do you think it could be possible to make the tools simultaneously compatible with the original games AND BG:EE should the latter have minor structural changes? Like having the modding tool recognize which game you have on your PC and adjust its features accordingly (kinda like when WeiDU mods can tell whether you're playing with or without GemRB)?

    ON THE COMPATIBILITY OF MODS

    Would minor changes to the game's structure call for major recoding or existing mods in order to make them work? Would it be possible to make mods compatible with both games simultaneously, in a way that they recognize which game you have and install the correct version of the files accordingly (like GemRB/non-GemRB, or even Tutu/EasyTutu)?

    DrugarSLNDiscoCat
  • CuvCuv Member, Developer Posts: 2,535
    Simple answer yes, I would love to answer this

  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,736
    On the matter of compatibility with file structure changes, it is very dependent on what kind of changes we're talking about.

    Changing the size of inner architecture in, say ITM, will break over 50% of mods. Changing saved games format will break only a dozen or so, and those are likely to be fixed with ease, because only experienced modders opt to tinker with saves.
    Using existing space for new features - like ToBEx introduces new flags to ITM/SPL format - may not cause any confusion at all.

    It really depends on details. If devs want to retain as much compatibility with the existing modding scene as possible, they may want to share them, so that folks revolving for years in modding and knowing it intimately can provide some insight.

    cmorganAldarkCrevsDaak
  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,351
    Changing the size of inner architecture in, say ITM, will break over 50% of mods.
    Could you think of any reason why anyone may want to do this? I mean, are there any scenarios in which this could be beneificial to the game (regardless of mods)?

  • AldarkAldark Member Posts: 7
    Changing the size of inner architecture in, say ITM, will break over 50% of mods.
    Could you think of any reason why anyone may want to do this? I mean, are there any scenarios in which this could be beneificial to the game (regardless of mods)?
    Very easy - we have intersting fields like that, as IESDP says:
    0x0029 1 (char) Kit Usability 1 0x002a 1 (char) Min Intelligence (unused in BG1) 0x002b 1 (char) Kit Usability 2 0x002c 1 (char) Min Dexterity (unused in BG1) 0x002d 1 (char) Kit Usability 3 0x002e 1 (char) Min Wisdom (unused in BG1) 0x002f 1 (char) Kit Usability 4 0x0030 1 (char) Min Constitution (unused in BG1)

    in .itm format. Each of bits of these "Kit Usability" bytes is already reserved by hardcode to determine if kit can use that weapon, or armor, or thing... So, we want to add more kits, let say 8 or less. Then we must place somewhere that 1 (char) Kit Usability 5 field. We place it somewhere inside .itm header... and vuala - whole header becomes broken for most mods.

  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,351
    @Aldark - I see. How hard/hacky would it be to make mods compatible with such a change? And would it be possible to have simultaneous compatibility with the originals?

  • Ascension64Ascension64 Member Posts: 560
    My teeny bit of 2c is that if the devs decide to change the file formats, make sure they give the files a new version number so we do not get confusion with the old file formats.

    AndreaColomboAldarkCrevsDaak
  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,736
    edited June 2012
    Well, that is obvious imo. But try explaining that to any item-patching mod, which thinks there is only one file format and doesn't bother to check the version.

  • salomonkanesalomonkane Member Posts: 48
    edited June 2012
    Hello to the modding community & enhanced edition team,

    In our case through the devellopement of different projects around the infinity engine
    (editor, campaign, media ...),

    We want to know whether there were plans to provide or improve the following elements :

    First, of course, an Editor and Campaign Tools Modding . (1)

    Then,
    Please give us the possibility to create and/or add :

    1) Means of Locomotion
    (It hurts to see, because of the indexing system maps, all our characters wander large areas,
    then they exist : the flying carpet, horses and spelljammer's spaceships in the world of Faerun) (2)
    2) More Familiars / Familiars customizable (3)
    (For the same reasons, it seems that we can not create familiars that can accompany us through the maps)
    3) More Slots in the engine for New Animations
    (Considering the existing potential of 2d/3d animations from the isometric games, and creativity of the artists/modders, why deny it ?) (*)
    4) Improve Animations for Birds
    (In fact we would like to improve the diversity and render of these animations too static for our taste) (4)
    5) Animations of Large Sizes and easy to integrate
    (To import new : we find it is very difficult to be limited to 256x256, not to mention the complexity of animations as the dragon very difficult thing to restore) (5)

    And so : exceed the limits on the number of slots, maps indexation, animations sizes, and customization etc.,
    "Vers l'Infini et Au-Delà" ... : ) .

    (1) : http://www.teambg.org/forum/index.php/topic,325.0.html
    : http://www.teambg.org/forum/index.php/topic,108.0.html
    : http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24576-conversion-des-animations-de-diablo-2-a-7.html#post291584
    (2) : http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24221-aide-creation-dun-nouveau-mod-11.html#post289990
    (3) : http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24221-aide-creation-dun-nouveau-mod-9.html#post279221
    (4) : http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24490-conversion-des-animations-dage-wonder.html#post280054
    (5) : http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24578-conversion-3d-2d-ie-outils-et-techniques.html#post290207
    : http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24221-aide-creation-dun-nouveau-mod-8.html#post278953
    : http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s=82004c18a363179f49c4af982b7d4e53&showtopic=24006&st=0

    (*) :

    Post edited by salomonkane on
    Spjuv3rnSLNZafiro
  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,351
    3) More Slots in the engine for New Animations
    Hi @solomonkane,

    this has already been request here and is being considered for implementation.

    You may want to check out the Master Thread of Externalization Requests too.

  • salomonkanesalomonkane Member Posts: 48
    edited July 2012
    @ AndreaColombo
    @ BG.EE Team

    Please give us the possibility to create and/or add

    6) Alphablending IE Support

    Indeed, the game engine, here, does not use alphablending (CG, transparency effects) which would be a real plus for modding and rendering.
    And as we move forward quickly in the integration of new animations and the conversion of BAMS (especially with Paul Siramy MergeDccV2 Editor), we expect a lot of to this new option that would not only increase the portability of some animations but also to improve the rendering, for the satisfaction of everyone .

    TY .

    imageimage
    image

    Source :
    http://www.baldursgateworld.fr/lacouronne/menace-sur-le-royaume-de-diamant-eternel/24576-conversion-des-animations-de-diablo-2-a-8.html#post292794

    Post edited by salomonkane on
    AndreaColombo
  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,351
    @solomonkane

    I'm no expert here, so I wouldn't really know - but would this be relevant to your request?

  • salomonkanesalomonkane Member Posts: 48
    edited July 2012
    @AndreaColombo

    Thank's for the link, we will clarify our thinking on the subject (Alphablending IE Support), on the topic indicated (Flipbook animation transparency) .

  • CoM_SolaufeinCoM_Solaufein Member Posts: 2,603
    Interesting read. Very interesting.

    Rerel
  • AndyrAndyr Member Posts: 14
    *waves*

    Just wanted to say hi, in case any fellow modders remember me from the old days. :)

    I haven't done any IE modding for five years or more although I am excited by BGEE (some of the new features, and some of the bugfixes), so I will keep an eye out on the forums. It's nice to see lots of familiar names here!

    In terms of my modding wish-list, I agree with CamDawg's suggestion earlier on in this thread to remove some of the hardcoded limitations (taking his mention of character kit limits as one--we did a lot of kit modding and it was a shame the number of slots for any one installation was limited). I think available animation slots were also limited, so it would be good to be able to increase those. Perhaps some of this is under consideration, or has already been implemented.

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420
    Holy moley, Andy's here! Now we just need Alec... :)

    AndyrCrevsDaak
  • AndyrAndyr Member Posts: 14
    It's Baldur's Gate, how could I resist the lure? Not sure what Idobek is up to!

    CrevsDaak
  • cmorgancmorgan Member Posts: 707
    ANDYR!!!!!

    Dude, good to see you. Well, as a post on the interwebz, but still.

    Andyr
  • CoM_SolaufeinCoM_Solaufein Member Posts: 2,603
    The game is bringing out modders from the past.

    AndyrCrevsDaak
  • AndyrAndyr Member Posts: 14
    Hi cmorgan, Solaufein. Good to see you still around. :)

  • CoM_SolaufeinCoM_Solaufein Member Posts: 2,603
    Maybe more of the old gang will show up.

  • CuvCuv Member, Developer Posts: 2,535
    Heya @Andyr :) Been a long time indeed. Yep, we are getting a massive reunion going. We should have a party!

    AndreaColombo
  • theacefestheacefes Member Posts: 85
    Hi Andyr! :) Good to see you around.

  • GalactygonGalactygon Member, Developer Posts: 406
    Hi @Andyr! It's good to see you back!

    -Galactygon

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