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Newbie Modding Questions


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Greetings everyone.


This is my first post here. Long time lurker and altogether ENORMOUS fan of the Baldur's Gate modding community. Anyway, instead of simply playing the game and leeching off everyones' hard work, I think that someday I would like to eventually contribute something of value to the community. Hence, my post here today. In general, I consider myself an extremely computer/tech-savvy person. And, I would like to learn a little bit more about the technical aspects of modding, and I am somewhat lost as to where I should begin...




I'd like to preface this question by saying that I recently broke down and finally purchased the set of Enhanced Edition Games (BG:EE; SOD; BGII:EE), and I am very excited about the pending release of The Enhanced Edition Trilogy.


Now my first question revolves around the differences in modding the two versions of the Infinity Engine? Is there much difference in creating a mod for the Enhanced Edition and creating a mod for the Original Trilogy. This probably sounds dumb, but I've seen a few posts about porting mods for the Enhanced Edition. However, I haven't really seen anything in the tutorial section that explicitly talks about the differences modders deal with when working the two different game versions. I was thinking about starting with the Enhanced Edition, would that decision make life for someone who just learning any harder? (which sorta leads into my next question)




A lot of the tutorial section seems dated. I ran a across numerous failed/dead links and this has proven somewhat frustrating. Does anyone have any suggestions on what would be good/relevant source material? I'm not looking for anyone to hold my hand during the process, rather hoping to hear suggestions from anyone with personal expertise in the field. Even something as simple as a link would be greatly appreciated. For example, what tools should I familiarize myself with? Is there anything in particular that more people seem favor over others? (Can anyone please explain the difference between WeiDu and TuTu to me?) Is there some sort of logical progression anyone would recommend when trying to learn this kinda stuff? Should I start with NPCs, Areas, creating Dialogues or some other aspect of creating mod?





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The answer would largely depend on the type of mod you have in mind, i.e.

- A content mod, e.g. an NPC mod, with a new character joining, having dialogues, romance, quest etc >>> the difference between EE and old game is marginal

- A tweak mod e.g. for spells, tweaks, combat scripts etc >>>> EE has much more own *intelligence* and thus a different baseline and on the other hand offers far more possibilities in its opcodes etc.

- Something else?


PS - if you want to do a mod for both BGT and EET consider that there is no SoD part in the one. My personal view is that I would be easier to start on a BGT basis and do the addons for EET on top, because EET itself does some on-the-fly conversions of mods (if they are compliant to both games).

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Can anyone please explain the difference between WeiDu and TuTu to me?

Well, Tutu is a Total Conversion mod for the BG2 game that takes the BG1 resources and crams them into BG2 and then makes a game out of them. It's very similar like the BGT-weidu, but it doesn't allow you to play the BG2 until you uninstall the Tutu, well there's also the Easy_Tutu that allows cloning of the BG2 folder and thus you could play it in a different directory... and also the original BGT(the non-weidu version) that was also a total conversion mod. But that's ages ago(10+ years).

Weidu on the other hand is a moding tool that allows mod installs to happen, as it can extend the games dialog library and so allows multiple mods(only one non weidu mod+ weidu mods) to be installed to one game.

What else, well besides weidu's .tp2 coding, you might wish to use it or Near Infinity or DLTCEP to edit the game files, paste those to the mod folder and make the weidu do their installs, as you just need to copy the folder or file and name the few strings in the file, if any as the opponents dn't need to have named spells etc.


Good aspiration for a first time mod maker, start very small. An item and get it into the game. Ouh and ask the stupid question. You'll learn more if you ignore the "I must sound smart" -rationalization, or you might as well call it rash-anal-ization.

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Wow! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Thank you much for you input and suggestions. I am very excited about playing through the complete Sandrah Saga for EET, once the official release for BWS goes live. To be perfectly honest, performing a mega mod installation by hand seems greatly intimidating to me.


@Jarno Mikkola

Thanks for the explanation. I've often seen things described as being WeiDu or TuTu and haven't really been able to understand the difference. I've been reading through the WeiDu documentation, I suppose it is a tool very worth learning? You also mentioned Near Infinity and DLTCEP in your post. Would you personally recommend initially looking into one over the other?



As far as mod-types are concerned, I am most interested in working on CONTENT MODs.


Perhaps, eventually, one day it would be fun to create a grand adventure of epic proportions with custom full-fledged joinable NPCs and memorable romances... but, for now I think I'd just like to tinker around a bit and have fun figuring out how everything works.


For my first project, I was thinking about focusing on creating dialogue banters and NPC conversations. For example, I thought it would be fun to try and flesh out the pre-existing background characters of bars and inns a little bit more. If possible I'd try to give a few random inn characters more to say than simply the typical, "Get out!" Maybe introduce a few dialogue options that would make it possible for characters to briefly trick them into leaving, thus making it easier for PCs to pick their locks and loot their stuff...


Another fun smaller project, of roughly the same scope, I was thinking about would be called, "Drunken Shenanigans." This mod would also primarily focus around dialogue banters and NPC conversations. Unlike in real life, I've always felt like alcohol in the Baldur's Gate series is something to avoid. There's just a lot of negative with not a lot of up, outside of probing for rumors--most of which you can figure out simply by talking to people. So, initially my goal would be just to make drinking fun again. For example, in certain bars if your entire party becomes inebriated, a cut-scene triggers and hilarity ensues. Maybe I could just create a good old fashion drinking contest between the main PC and a bitter dwarven stone-forger. Or, maybe there could be like a small side quest which can only be accepted/completed while you're drunk...



Do those ideas seems like a manageable place to begin? Or, would you guys suggest beginning somewhere else?


Again thank you for your input,


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As for Near Infinity or DLTCEP - for your initial purpose both would do, however in the longer term I would (very personal view) recommend NI as it is very actively maintained by Argent77 and up-to-date for the old game, the ee and EET and also IWD. It also has loads of useful tools for modders added during the last few years. It is pretty intuitive as well.


If you go for your NPC conversation idea, there is the benefit that you can use them in all available versions of the game BGEE, BG2EE, EET, BG1, BG2 or BGT. If you use existing creatures and their dialogues you can care very little about the global game context for that and you will mostly deal with d/dlg files and some easy code to set globals or let persons leave the room...

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I recommend DLTCEP for, and only for making and editing items/spells, the NI can do that too as well as weidu, but the NI's a little delicate at times, because it's a hex editor, and the DLTCEP is not so much that. But that's a personal preference of using the two and other tools for how long I ever have. ~9 years.
Other than the items/spells, the NI is better choice for the rest of them, unless you go with full on weidu crazy.. yeah that can do everything and everyone at the same time. In mass and in solo. Now that's a sex joke. :devlook:

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Thank you for the helpful suggestions.,


Right now I have adopted WeiDu and Near Infinity into my toolbox. WeiDu is going to take a while to figure out, but Near Infinity is extremely easy to muck through... I'm still having a little bit of a hard time putting together the entire modding processes in the grand scheme of things.


For example... Okay so, let's say I'm able to identify a couple of resources that I would like to edit in Near Infinity. ( we'll call them thing1.cre and thing1.dlg)


I'm hesitant to directly edit the resources in Near Infinity, because I want to learn how to create something that I would be able to share with others someday. Then, if I return to my desktop's file browser, and run a search of the resources that I'm eager to mod because I'd like to manually back them up, for some reason Windows will return 0 results and tell me that the files don't even exist???


I've actually read through one of the FAQs that you wrote Jarno Mikkola: http://www.shsforums.net/topic/41036-faq-for-the-megamods/. And, I think that problem I've encountered into is related to "biffing?"


So, Near Infinity, has the option to export resources but I don't understand how I'm supposed to import them back into the Infinity Engine???


As for WeiDu, I've started looking into trying to understand .tp2 coding. The examples in the readme are a little dense. So, I'm currently searching for more examples on how to WeiDu. Will a greater understanding of .tp2 coding help me to resolve my problem above? Or should I be looking into something else?


I would be grateful for any advice. LoL. I honestly feel like I'm failing at something very elementary.

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If you're making something new (like an item, spell, or creature), you'll probably want to do most of your modifications ahead of time (everything except text) and simply have your mod copy the file over when it is being installed. You can use Near Infinity to export a similar file, then load up that clone (Game > Open File), make your modifications, and save it.


If you're changing existing things in the game, for compatibility reasons, you should perform the modifications at install-time using WeiDU commands instead. Check out the .tp2 file of a mod that does something similar to what you want to get an idea what that entails.

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Then, if I return to my desktop's file browser, and run a search of the resources that I'm eager to mod because I'd like to manually back them up, for some reason Windows will return 0 results and tell me that the files don't even exist???

Well the windows can't find the files because they are indeed packaged in the .bif files, they are the resource the game engine read when it loads from the CDs... they contain the original game files yes. Now when you modify those files, the Near Infinity usually makes the modified files to be in the <gameinstallfolder>/override/ -folder. That's the same destination you'll want to move all the files when you make a mod that installs the mod files with weidu.

So for example you do this, as an easy example... from a middle of my mod of an exported BG1 item:

BACKUP ~Impilation/backup~
AUTHOR ~Jarno Mikkola, The Imp.~

BEGIN ~The Imps Item additions to BGII - SoA, Tutu and BGT~ DESIGNATED 4

COPY ~Impilation/BG1items/IJ#blun.itm~ ~override~
SAY NAME1 ~Mace~
SAY NAME2 ~Mace + 2: 'Krotan's Skullcrusher'~
SAY DESC ~Mace +2: 'Krotan's Skullcrusher'
Even the hordes have their heroes, and while they are vilified in civilized company, their deeds are sometimes impressive nonetheless. Krotan was an exceptionally intelligent orc, as far as orcs go, who commanded an ever-shifting legion of ogres, orcs, hobgoblins, and other assorted beasties during the Year of the Lost Lady, 1241DR. It was in this year that a group of orc bandits allegedly kidnapped and killed a Tethyrian noblewoman, and the response from authorities was a genocidal slaughter of orcs throughout the south in her memory. Krotan mounted a defense that ensured his people were not entirely destroyed; though they were displaced. Krotan himself fell near the end of the conflict, and his head was mounted outside the graveyard where the young lady was buried. As a point of interest, orc's called this time the "Year of Pushing Too Far."


Damage:  1D6 + 3
THACO:  +2
Damage type:  crushing
Weight: 7
Speed Factor: 5
Proficiency Type: Mace
Type:  1-handed
Not Usable By:

That "installs" the one file(IJ#blun.itm) from the mod subfolder and edits the files attached text to be the ones set in the SAYs, you can then just add another COPY to continue on with additional items ... until you want to make another BEGIN <component name> which starts a new mod component. Or just continue with the first.

I say "installs" as it's not placed anywhere in the game yet, just edited so it fits in with the existing game resources.

Questions ? Ask away.

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