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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Modding? Can we have it?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Xionanx's Avatar
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    Modding? Can we have it?

    Are there any plans to release a tool to let players adjust the various units, abilities, and encounters?

    From a look over the directory structure/files of the game is seems fairly obvious that almost everything in the game could be easily edited with a mere text editor if not for the encryption on the JSON files preventing it. So I'm just curious is there were any plans to release a tool to decrypt those files to let users makes adjustments to the single player campaign.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Senta's Avatar
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    I'd love that, as well. my only complaint with the Banner Saga is that it is on a short side, and mods, additional quests/scenarios, more events, battles and more variety would help prolonging this great, beautiful game.

  3. #3
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    I'd like that too. Apart from battles etc, entire dialogues, choices and events could be introduced that way. Very interesting, especially if the community is supporting it! Great idea, Xionanx. It gets me more excited by the moment
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  4. #4
    Member Dysp's Avatar
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    Mods would be wonderful. I've often thought how many frames a unit requires. But beyond the unlikelyhood of adding new units, I imagine small tweaks/customizations to the game could add a lot more content to the game.
    ..in my avatar: my wardog & blind warsheep.

  5.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #5
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Hmm I duno about that initial diagnosis Xionax. You'd be surprised how finnicky the game was during testing before launch. One of the main issues with modding is getting that in while making sure the game is robust enough to not bug out.

    If it was easy to the point players could provide the content and stick it in themselves, I don't think Stoic would have had a hard time adding more dialogue/scenes/events/battles. One of the main issues with putting anything in, is actually creating blockers (points where the game either does not progress correctly, or cannot be continued due to bugs).

    It does sound like something cool, but there's other priorities on the table right now .
    Last edited by raven2134; 01-18-2014 at 08:33 AM.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Xionanx's Avatar
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    I would have to say that a severe under estimate of the communities abilities as a whole or a general lack of knowledge of the modding community. If I can pull apart XCOM Enemy Unknown and rewrite and re balance the tech trees, turn orders, weapon damages, etc.. all without a mod tool. If I can strip down Eador - Masters of the broken world, again.. rebalancing units, putting in new random events, fixing quests.. and again with an official modding tool.. then this game, with it painfully obvious file structure and using Adobe AIR doesn't seem to present much challenge to me.. that is beyond the encrypted files. (and I am not all that skilled). Imagine what those people who modded all those other games are capable of.

    Which leads me to believe that is probably why the files were encrypted in the first place.. because it WOULD be easy to mod. But, just the same, given time I'm sure someone will make a file extractor..

  7. #7
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Xionanx -- I'm sure there's "hackers" out there would could work those miracles, but the point is to bring semi-amateurs (to whom I count myself ) in, too. The idea would be to have an officially supplied platform for the modding, that is as stable as possible, so as to avoid that sort of trouble. It all comes down to how well the game is structured, block-wise. I mean, I see these "blocks", each broken down into "assets":
    • Combat -- Board, Units, Turn-Queue, Stats, etc
    • Dialogue -- Portraits (face & back), background, text, options
    • Travel (close-view & long-view) -- Background layers, Caravan sprites, HUD
    • Events -- Banner-background, square-icon, text, options
    • Misc (Camp, Heroes) -- ...

    So, the most important thing is to "tie" these up in a consistent story, i.e. a series of connected {IF,WHILE,SWITCH}/THEN/ELSE clauses
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Senta's Avatar
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    I've seen people mod completely un-moddable games (new XCOM comes to mind, thanks for the example Xio), so I am confident it could be done. Obviously with dev support it becomes much easier and a possibility of creating an open ended, sand box mod of Banner Saga is making my mouth water! take a game like Mount and Blade, the only reason that it's still around and as popular as it is, is due to its huge modifiability.
    it would be next to impossible to come up with art assets since Banner Saga is too beautiful, but everything else but the animations and completely new art should be doable. Like Aleonymous said, dialogue, travel, units, quests, events, etc, adding icons to camp/town menu, certain easier sprites should all be possible.

    here's hoping!

  9.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #9
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Keeping an eye on this thread. Will see if it's possibe to get John to chime in.

  10.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #10
    Technical Director John's Avatar
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    The files aren't really encrypted... they're just compressed to speed up load times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xionanx View Post
    I would have to say that a severe under estimate of the communities abilities as a whole or a general lack of knowledge of the modding community. If I can pull apart XCOM Enemy Unknown and rewrite and re balance the tech trees, turn orders, weapon damages, etc.. all without a mod tool. If I can strip down Eador - Masters of the broken world, again.. rebalancing units, putting in new random events, fixing quests.. and again with an official modding tool.. then this game, with it painfully obvious file structure and using Adobe AIR doesn't seem to present much challenge to me.. that is beyond the encrypted files. (and I am not all that skilled). Imagine what those people who modded all those other games are capable of.

    Which leads me to believe that is probably why the files were encrypted in the first place.. because it WOULD be easy to mod. But, just the same, given time I'm sure someone will make a file extractor..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rensei's Avatar
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    Awww shooot Xionanx - and there You was sounding convincingly cool, mad haxx skillz and all.

    Graphic modding might be a bit hard seeing as this time people will actually have to draw something (unless we we're talking about recoloring).

    I'd love to see some way to have Your own stories or even just combat scenarios implemented.
    Last edited by Rensei; 01-19-2014 at 05:37 PM.

  12. #12
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    The files aren't really encrypted... they're just compressed to speed up load times.
    So, next question is... how do we open them? My almighty 7-Zip can't seem to handle them ".z" files. A rough Google search proved that it might a bit more complicated (JavaBinding?).
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rensei's Avatar
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    ------
    Last edited by Rensei; 01-19-2014 at 06:03 PM.

  14. #14
    Backer Mierko's Avatar
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    I ran into issues with the .z files as well. Unable to open any of the .clip or json files..

    I tried to recolor Rook's cloak as a test in his (ranged) attack animations, but think the game is reading the .clip files and I don't know how to update those from the pngs I made.

    Item art updates just fine.
    I did a paint over on the Godscale item and it works. I added some iridescence to the scale and a little more pop to the highlights as well as change the background to a soft gradient with a lighter and more saturated blue. It wasn't that the original art itself wasn't great, but I wanted to test an asset and it just made sense to add features from the item's description. Other than the item art I haven't gotten anything to show up in game.

    If anyone is able to update any files let me know!

  15.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #15
    Technical Director John's Avatar
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    Changing the animation sprite sheet PNGs should work when you start the game -- you should see the changes immediately. If it is not working, I'm not sure why.

    Here is some AS3 code that will take one of the .json.z files and decompile it into a JSON object (caveat I just typed this into the forum, did not test the code):

    given that you've loaded you data into a ByteArray called 'data':

    Code:
    var data : ByteArray;
    data.uncompress();
    var jo : Object = data.readObject();
    var jsonString : String = JSON.stringify(jo);
    Given a json string called 'jsonString', you can create the contents of a .json.z file with this code:

    Code:
    var jsonString : String;
    var jo : Object = JSON.parse(jsonString);
    var data : ByteArray = new ByteArray;
    data.writeObject(jo);
    data.compress();

    Quote Originally Posted by Mierko View Post
    I ran into issues with the .z files as well. Unable to open any of the .clip or json files..

    I tried to recolor Rook's cloak as a test in his (ranged) attack animations, but think the game is reading the .clip files and I don't know how to update those from the pngs I made.

    Item art updates just fine.
    I did a paint over on the Godscale item and it works. I added some iridescence to the scale and a little more pop to the highlights as well as change the background to a soft gradient with a lighter and more saturated blue. It wasn't that the original art itself wasn't great, but I wanted to test an asset and it just made sense to add features from the item's description. Other than the item art I haven't gotten anything to show up in game.

    If anyone is able to update any files let me know!
    Last edited by John; 02-02-2014 at 04:12 PM.

  16. #16
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    Here is some AS3 code...
    I wish I could use that. Unfortunately, I am illiterate when it comes to these Flash/Web languages

    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    Changing the animation sprite sheet PNGs should work when you start the game -- you should see the changes immediately. If it is not working, I'm not sure why.
    Interesting... I would have expected the game to "use" the SWF files, not the sprite-sheet-PNGs
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  17.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #17
    Technical Director John's Avatar
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    For animations, the game only uses the sprite sheets. The .clip file tells it which frames to play when. the .swf is never loaded by the game (in these cases).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    I wish I could use that. Unfortunately, I am illiterate when it comes to these Flash/Web languages



    Interesting... I would have expected the game to "use" the SWF files, not the sprite-sheet-PNGs

  18. #18
    Backer Mierko's Avatar
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    John you are the best. Thanks for responding so quickly. Great to know that the sprite sheets are all that we need to update.

    I left my tablet pen at work so both my tablet and my cintiq are useless right now, but I will do some crude select by color in PS and change some of the sprite sheets and see what is popping up.


    Hah! Massive edit on this post for me.. I just wrote up two paragraphs asking about naming conventions and file locations/directories and realized that I forgot to add '.sheet' to the new png name. I am a doofus.

    So just to clarify for everyone, I messed up the naming convention. I saved my sprite sheet as...

    "attack_ranged_ne.00.png"

    "attack_ranged_ne.00.sheet.png"

    Sorry about that everyone!

    EDIT: John I was unable to open any of the swf files in Flash cs6. I get an error on import that there were problems reading them. Were these swfs saved with "Protect from import" checked on? Can you verify this? I understand if you guys aren't looking to make your assets public.

    The reason I ask is that I am working on a palette swap for Egil after equipping the Godscale tunic. It would be much faster to have access to the vector art rather than masking the pngs in photoshop.

    Thanks for the awesome game!
    Last edited by Mierko; 01-21-2014 at 12:38 AM. Reason: Added a question

  19. #19
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, John I'll try re-coloring my guys too. My first project will be a "negative-colors" Oddleif, a.k.a. Black-widow skystriker!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mierko View Post
    EDIT: John I was unable to open any of the swf files ... I understand if you guys aren't looking to make your assets public.
    Mierko, that might just be the case
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  20.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #20
    Technical Director John's Avatar
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    The SWF files are not protected, they just have nothing on the main stage. Everything is in the SWF library. Have you tried using a decompiler like Sothink Decompiler?

    That being said, the animations in-game are all sprite sheeted. The SWF is never loaded and is only there for reference.

    The only SWFs loaded by the game are the GUIs, the Portraits (heroes details, conversations), and the Snake breathing fire anim.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Thanks for the info, John I'll try re-coloring my guys too. My first project will be a "negative-colors" Oddleif, a.k.a. Black-widow skystriker!



    Mierko, that might just be the case

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