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File Questions and a Mod Request.

I have been playing balders gate since I was a wee babe starting with 6 cds on an old 700 mhz PC like many of us. I love the series and over the years became a huge bioware fan boy in general. Oddly I have never played the ice wind Dale series. Not sure why. Since then I stopped PC gaming but the BG series came out on mobile and that was a fantastic day.

Anyway I am playing Bg2ee v. 2.5.16.6 on my phone and I've gotten into using some of the mod files I've found on this site to ease up some of my runs or spice them UP. Gusinda has put together some nice files and the tweaks community seems to be active. Both much appreciated.

I was hoping someone could compile a mod file for me since I don't have a PC and can't do the file manipulation for myself, but first had a couple questions about files that I haven't been able to answer through research online.

1) The dialog.tlk file seems to be at the root of a lot of modding issues. What data is actually stored there? Does it actually store dialog? It seems to affect in game descriptions as well?
2) What is stored in a .cre file?
3) What is stored in a .are file?
4) When multiple mods seek to make changes to those files how do those changes get layered? For instance, and my assumptions could be wrong, if I had a mod that turned every enemy in WK into a gibberling and a Mod that nuked all the traps and locks in WK how does the area file get modded to accept both?

I was just curious about those questions so I could intelligently request a mod file. Because of those interactions it's hard to sort of piece together a mod file of my own from the other files here because they all seek to replace and overwrite some of the files from each other and then conflict with the dialog. Honestly it's been a lot of fun taking the 3 or 4 mod compilations from the beamdog forums and sort of Frankensteining my own but I obviously can't ever get everything working at the same time. As a humerous example I was recently playing a playthrough where I had triple romances going as a Dwarven ken/T dual, all of the attacks from mephits were "invalid", and my bags of holding were labeled as "Full Plate +1", and when offered the ranger stronghold my dialog choices were "begin Shaman dance/stop Shaman dance" lol.

Sorry for the novel and thanks guys.

Comments

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,340
    1) string references are stored there, for every item, NPC, PC, monster, ANYTHING, when you look up the actual file for that specific "object" there is no actual writing per se, just string references

    so when you look up an item description, its a taken reference from the dialogue.tlk file, so for example; the necklace of missiles ( the one gift lost ) when you look at the - General description - it uses string reference 6912 from dialogue.tlk to give you the unidentified description

    then for the - Identified description - it uses string reference 7371 from dialogue.tlk to give you the description

    every piece of wording, is taken from the dialogue.tlk file through references, even in dialogues, so when you chat to an NPC it will start by going something on these lines; when first chatted to, start with dialogue reference xxxxx ( and then if there are options -> ) go to root xx and use string reference xxxx for that specific dialogue piece

    so when you install mods and you see silly things like a bag of holding that shows up as full plate+1 instead is because when the modder made that item, they used that specific string reference number to make it say that, and what may be happening is that you are not using the same dialogue.tlk file the modder used so that is why you are getting weird writing anomolies or "invalid" lines because your dialogue.tlk file doesnt match what the modder had

    2) absolutely everything is stored in that file, all the information about that creature, from stats to items to scripts, to animations to colors to sounds, the whole sha-bang, if you have a program like Near Infinity and open up a creature file, you will see there is a bajillion lines of info about that creature

    3) all the info needed for that specific area including music, scripts, placeables, creatures, transverse points, the actual rendering of the "art assets" itself, the orientation of object ( including non interactable ones ) and so on, this file can actually be very finicky, because if something is places within it that the game doesnt understand ( or is corrupt or non existent ) then its very possible it can crash the game when you try and load this area up ( there was a house in the original vanilla BG that would crash the game if you entered it because of this reason, the EEs have since fixed this problem )

    4) depending on what the modder did to create their mod, for simple mods, you can use the override folder to place your mods and what that will do, is it will keep the original files intact but will use your modded files instead

    so lets say for example you used Near Infinity to change every enemy in watchers keep to a gibberling; first you would have to edit all the .are files of watchers keep so that every enemy is a gibberling, then you would save all those .are files and place them into your over ride

    now when you play watchers keep, every baddie will be a gibberling, but now lets say you don't want to do that any more, and you want to go back to fighting the regular baddies; all you would have to do, is just go into your over ride folder and delete those custom area files and bam, everything will be back to normal

    the over ride folder is great for making quick mods/fixes to your games without messing things up, because if you do it this way, the original file stays intact and the over ride folder has "first dibs" on modded files aka; if again you did the gibberling mod, the game will check the over ride folder first before loading up watchers keep areas to see if there has been any mods made, and if so, it will use those instead of the original files

    now, another program that modders like to use is Weidu which i have very little experience with so im not 100% sure how it works but i think the idea behind it, is it's supposed to "stack" with the original files and any modded files so in theory you can install a bunch of mods together and everything should work together

    so lets say for example, you had your .are mods that made everyone in watchers keep a gibberling and its a finished mod, but now you want to make a mod where there are no traps or locks in watchers keep, but dont want every enemy to be a gibberling, so you would have to use the original .are files and change them so there are no traps and locks

    but now lets say you want to use both mods, if they are both saved as lets say; AR30001.are and you place both of them in your over ride folder then one will replace the other, and now only one will work

    this is where weidu comes in, and through some scripting sorcery it should be able to merge both of those mods together where you will now have gibberling baddies and no traps or locks

    although again my experience isn't great with weidu and i recall using it in the past to install mods and for me it was nothing but a nightmare to get things to work properly so i've never used it since, but that doesnt mean its bad for everyone, ironically, im probably one of the only people on the planet that hates using weidu and i just prefer to put my modded files into my over ride folder, i find it quicker and easier to do things that way, but thats just me

    Gusinda
  • AwesomosisAwesomosis Member Posts: 3
    That's basically what I had inferred based on my own observations. I dont even claim to be good at coding, but it's in interesting dichotomy to more or less use files that are insanely comprehensive like .cre files and .are files while at the same time creating some sort of master reference file that other files call for. Oh well. Can't really complain considering the masterful quality of the BG series.

    It sounds like Weidu is definitely required though to compile multiple mods together then, since various mods need to interact with the same files and especially the same dialog.tlk file.

    If anyone has a spare bit of time and the appropriate version of bg2ee I would very much appreciate it if you could wash some mods through Weidu and shoot me a zip archive.

    Also thank you much, Sarevok, I appreciate the insight. I dont know how many times I've played through this game but I would certainly like to spice up future play-throughs.

    sarevok57
  • GusindaGusinda Member Posts: 1,726
    Hi @Awesomosis, I am guessing here that you want an Android modfile with some mods in it. If that is the case, then I would be glad to help out. Just put a list of the mods (and their modules) up and I will see what I can do.

    If on the on hand, you actually want someone to create a mod using WeiDU, then that is probably out of my league at the moment. I can dabble (read fault find and rudamentary coding, not like the real coders here) but don't have the time at the moment to do any project work.

    Gus

  • AwesomosisAwesomosis Member Posts: 3
    Oh. I think I might have misunderstood what Weidu is then. You make it sound like it's for mod creation and I was under the assumption it just installed mods. Yes I am looking for a mod file. The 3 or so I have found on here that you did all seem to include handy bits and pieces but I was hoping for something that's got it all at once. I also have no idea how to contact you personally. I will begin compiling a list of mods and the links to them with the appropriate options if you have a chance to wash them through a PC. Also I hope everything is going well with you. I find I don't have nearly the same amount of spare time as I did when I was younger and certainly don't mean to intrude upon yours.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,647
    weidu's purpose is actually to install the mods compatible with it, but in a smart way, is not a tool to write mods.
    if the mod is compatible weidu let the player install it, remembering the order in which different mods are installed.
    so if you want to roll back, uninstall a mod, weidu do it for you first uninstalling all the mods that was installed after the one you want to remove, then removing it and at last installing again the other mods.

    weidu also ask you which mod components you want to install if the modder had made possible to chose only some parts of his mod.

    before WW wrote the first version of weidu to install and uninstall mods was a problem, with weidu it is so much simpler that all the mods since then are written to be compatible with weidu.

    so @Awesomosis you was right, it is a tool to install mods, and you was wrong at the same time, a mod must be compatible with it to work with it, so some coding to make it compatible is needed.

    maybe compatible is not the better word, but being not a coder nor a native english speaker is the best one i can find. anyway i hope that you understood what i mean.

    Gusinda
  • LookToWindwardLookToWindward Member Posts: 177
    I have a couple of questions on this process. I used Mac Weidu Launcher V7 to install and launch Wiedu. I don't see a way of uninstalling the mods, is this possible on a Mac?

    Also, is there a document or thread somewhere that describes all the different file type and how they are used by the Infinity Engine?

    Incidentally I tried to use NearInfinity but can't get it to work. I'm running 10.14.6, does anyone know if is supposed to work on this version? Also are they any installation or user instructions for the Mac?

    Cheers
    Dave

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,647
    i don't use mac so i am not sure, but to uninstall a mod you have to repeat the same procedure that you did to install it, but choosing to uninstall the mod or the mod components that you don't want any more, there is not a different procedure to install and uninstall the mods, you just run the exe, or whatever it is in the mac os, that you used to install the mod.
    then weidu will uninstall all the mods installed after the one you want to remove, then uninstall that mod and finally install again the mod (if you have chosen to only remove some components instead of completely get rid of it) in its new configuration and all the other mods in the exact order in which they was originally installed.

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