Topic: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.  (Read 7591 times)

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Offline AlDaja

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SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« on: February 24, 2017, 01:50:33 pm »
Greetings everyone.  Looking to see if anyone knows how to access the Components and Driver files for Starfleet Command III.  We currently have one mod SFC:III - Typhon Pact out (working on another) and would like to make both mods even better by customizing them specific to the mod universe we've created.  Specifically, we'd like to be able to change/correct the movement of the Borg or assign races to the 'blank' AI's that Taldren left open, but did not finish.  We are hoping once we get into these files we can change the game logic and potentially add UI to the open 4 race slots. i.e. Species 8472, Cardassians...

We would appreciate anyone who can help us fully maximize our mod(s) and make them an integral part of the SFC:III gaming experience.
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Offline TarMinyatur

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 07:21:40 pm »
Download IDA 6.8. Very few of us in the SFC Community have learned how to hex edit these games. Currently we are able to do simple things -- adjust weapon damage tables, fix range-checking bugs, and move variables to sfc.ini. Complicated stuff like filling in Taldren's incomplete features is not easy.

JanB was working on SFC3. The more people that get a disassembler, the faster that features can be modified or added.   

Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 08:24:16 pm »
Download IDA 6.8. Very few of us in the SFC Community have learned how to hex edit these games. Currently we are able to do simple things -- adjust weapon damage tables, fix range-checking bugs, and move variables to sfc.ini. Complicated stuff like filling in Taldren's incomplete features is not easy.

JanB was working on SFC3. The more people that get a disassembler, the faster that features can be modified or added.

Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate the tip.  I think my programmer might already have this editor, if not, where can I download it?  Yup, JanB is my go-to-guy.  I currently have a pending query with him and hoping he might have an idea or know of someone who has figured it out. 

EDIT:  We were able to find an IDA 5.0 free version, so we will see what we can do. 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 09:33:36 pm by AlDaja »
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2017, 09:04:17 am »
(...) would like to make both mods even better by customizing them specific to the mod universe we've created.  Specifically, we'd like to (...) assign races to the 'blank' AI's that Taldren left open, but did not finish.  We are hoping once we get into these files we can change the game logic and potentially add UI to the open 4 race slots. i.e. Species 8472, Cardassians (...)

I took a look in your ideia today, and, related to the UI specifically, you would need a lot of assembly code changed, and massive modifications to the sprites.q3, to give UIs to all the 'blank' races.
Even so, these would be the easiest modifications of all. Because, the game calls almost every UI by name. And those names can be searched easily.
The game seems harcoded to 4 races almost everywhere i looked. And they didnt left any code to handle those extra 4 races. It would need to be created.
In the end, if we were sucessful at this task, there isnt any reason to think that the game would 'see' those changes, because the UI is just a part of the game logic.
Just this part looks almost impossible. And i like this ideia alot.
My 10 cents..
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 09:16:18 am by d4v1ks »
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Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2017, 02:25:10 pm »
(...) would like to make both mods even better by customizing them specific to the mod universe we've created.  Specifically, we'd like to (...) assign races to the 'blank' AI's that Taldren left open, but did not finish.  We are hoping once we get into these files we can change the game logic and potentially add UI to the open 4 race slots. i.e. Species 8472, Cardassians (...)

I took a look in your ideia today, and, related to the UI specifically, you would need a lot of assembly code changed, and massive modifications to the sprites.q3, to give UIs to all the 'blank' races.
Even so, these would be the easiest modifications of all. Because, the game calls almost every UI by name. And those names can be searched easily.
The game seems harcoded to 4 races almost everywhere i looked. And they didnt left any code to handle those extra 4 races. It would need to be created.
In the end, if we were sucessful at this task, there isnt any reason to think that the game would 'see' those changes, because the UI is just a part of the game logic.
Just this part looks almost impossible. And i like this ideia alot.
My 10 cents..

This is AlDaja 's programmer Amro.  Thanks for the reply.  If we could get a q3 and the related files with the UI opened  for the other races (excluding the Ferengi) we could make the game work with all races. When we were experimenting with adding 8 races  for our mod SFC:III - Typhon Pact, we found that we had inadvertently made the other four race slots playable.  They were operating correctly, however, they were missing some of the race specific UI elements. Therefore, I think with us changing the game as much as we have for our mod, I believe we have already recoded much of the game to work with 8 playable races.  Wherever AlDaja saw any coding for only 4 races, he added the coding for the full 8 presuming that was necessary for our mod.  Adding to that I have enough control over the mission scripts to add scripts for all 8 races. I honestly think that if you could add the UI elements or could tell me how to do it myself,  I would have a working knowledge with what we have on our side and could have a full and complete 8-race playable SFC3 that then can be released to the larger SFC III community.

If we can achieve this it will undoubtedly inspire new mods.
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2017, 02:51:57 pm »
When you wrote about recoding, and control, you are talking about the mission scripts right? Those are the places where you changed the code to support the 8 races?
I was just talking about the SFC3.exe and its functions that only take in account 4 races.
There are also the functions that load for the hardcoded 4 races: shuttle names, ship class names, shuttle model pathnames, race names, 3 or 4 race name abreviations, video pathnames,  officer names paths in the gf file,  char creation names,  shipnames,  etc...
Just these functions in the EXE require massive changes in its assembly code.
Or have you already advanced in that matter, and started rewritting the EXE ?
Well, on the other side, maybe you dont need all of this, right? Maybe, just some specific things... I had some success adding ship UIs to the other SFC versions, some specific UIs, but in other cases the game itself was not coded in a way to load it, and therefore just ignored it...
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 03:56:55 pm by d4v1ks »
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Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2017, 04:40:39 pm »
From what I understood of your first post you were saying that playing in the extra slots should not work at all, let alone use the correct ships and names. Please tell me if that assumption was correct for that should clear up some confusion on my side. 

As for EXE modification, I have only recently started looking into that and I am still trying to figure out what goes to what in the EXE modification program.  I would appreciate any help or pointers in that endeavor though.  The race names, officer names (don't know about the 'paths'?), char creation names, ship names, etc. that you said have to be changed in the EXE have been changed without needing to go into the EXE and are functioning correctly for our mod. Granted, it would probably be easier and make it more stable to change it in the EXE, but never the less we have changed such items.

Also, to answer where we have changed code to handle 8 races is not in the scripts.  I noted it,  to inform you that if we could get the extra race slots completed, I could then correct that coding to match. We changed the code to handle 8 races in every single file we have access to in the Assets and MetaAssets files which from what we can tell, has changed much of what you said we shouldn't have been able to change without modifying the EXE. 

Thanks - Amro
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2017, 06:24:09 pm »
We have time to clarify what we are talking about.

Let me give an example, starting with what i called "paths" of the officer names:

In the file at ".\Assets\CommonSettings\OfficerNames.gf" there are some headers like:
    [Federation]
    [Klingon]
    etc

For example, when i play in your mod, with the Rakelli (Sfc3Bonus), the officer names that are displayed ingame are not the ones listed under the header...

    [Rakellian]
    0="ISMI"
    1=...

... like you wanted, but instead the game displays the names listed under the klingon header.
Why?
Because you choosed in the "Rakelli Consortium Conquest.mct" file:

[Race]
0=1

The game interprets this as the race being Klingon and not Rakellian, like you wanted.
This happens because the game ignores your changes, and, instead, has something like this hardcoded in the EXE...

Select case Race
Case 0
   officerNameGfheader = "[Federation]"
Case 1
   officerNameGfheader = "[Klingon]"
Case 2
   ...

No matter what you change in the GF files, for the EXE, the race numbers represent always the same:

0 Fed
1 Kling
2 Rom
3 Borg

This is one, of the things, i was talking about.
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2017, 07:06:46 pm »
Other limitation is how the UI system works.
It runs "isolated" from the game code.
I never had any access to source code, but it looks like an object oriented system.
It comunicates with the game throught events, most likely.
For example, i can add any numbers of objects to the UI engine, by editing the sprites.q3, without the game never know it exists. Even so, the objects will be displayed ingame, have animations, and work.
For those objects have real meaning to the game, the coders had to bind object events to functions like:

RaceButton1.Click  ->  function OnRaceButton1Click()

Then, when you click in that button, for example, the UI engine will call the "OnRaceButton1Click()" function, and actually do something for us.

Imagine the function above would do something like setting our ingame race to klingon, then we could have something like....

Void OnRaceButton0Click (){
   ingameRace=0
}

Void OnRaceButton1Click (){
   ingameRace=1
}

Void OnRaceButton2Click (){
   ingameRace=2
}

If we add more buttons to the UI engine, named correctly, it wouldnt matter, because they will not be associated with any ingame code, and do something usefull, like changing a race number to more than 4, for example.

But, of course, there are other cases, where the game logic actually inspects the sprites.q3 file, and binds everything correctly, like...

For each Button in spritesQ3->myRaceSelectionMenu{
    bind Button.Click to onButtonClick()
}

Function onButtonClick(){
   myRace=thisButton.Index
}

And this limits everything we can do.
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Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2017, 09:09:32 pm »
I understand what it is you are saying on both of your recent posts and it does explain why we had some trouble with the names and it also explains why we had troubles with a lot of the other files in the bonus mod.  I still think there is a little misunderstanding in what I am trying to do.   What we were proposing/attempting is to change the races in Conquest Mod.  Essentially,  putting all 8 races in the correct order, playable in one game specifically for Conquest play, instead of having to split it like we did and reuse the F,K,R,B slots.  We know its possible, because when we copied over all of our combined files for the making of our current mod, we got it to work (sorta).  We decided to see what would happen if we activated the other four slots and we were surprised to see the game actually was working without game crash, with the exception of the UI's, of course not showing anything - that is our dilemma; however, taking in account for what you are pointing out we probably missed that ship names, officer names...are a factor.  Would you like to see the mod example that we did (if I can get it uploaded here) that was not released to demonstrate what worked.   I am hoping with your knowledge the two of us can finish the EXE specifically tailored for Conquest play.  Then we could work on the UI after this section is finished and look into skirmish buttons and whatnot later. 

Thanks - Amro
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2017, 04:18:01 am »
Would you like to see the mod example that we did (if I can get it uploaded here) that was not released to demonstrate what worked.

Sure.
I want to understand what you did.
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Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2017, 12:28:33 pm »
Would you like to see the mod example that we did (if I can get it uploaded here) that was not released to demonstrate what worked.

Sure.
I want to understand what you did.

I informed Amro.  He said it will be a few days to recompile the files and will contact you. 

Thanks again - AlDaja
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2017, 02:12:21 pm »
Thanks.

Well, I ended up spending a lot of time inspecting the SFC3.exe, to build a better picture of what could be done to improve the modding of SFC3.
   Apart from the negative side, of modifying a game, that was clearly reduced to 4 playable races, at some point of its development, there are things that can be done.
   For example, still refering to the “OfficerNames.gf” file, the EXE only loads the names under the Federation, Klingon and Romulan headers. The EXE don’t read the names under the Borg header, but instead, it builds a list of random names, like 1 of 2, 3 of 3, 5 of 6, etc. The remaining headers are ignored. So as far as this file concerns, you can only mod these ones…

Name = "OfficerNames"

[Federation]
0=first name
1=…

 [Klingon]
0=first name
1=…
 
[Romulan]
0=first name
1=…

   How it can be improved?
   The game at this point, provides memory pointers for the 4 lists, so instead of letting the game generate random names for the Borg race, we can rewrite this code, and call the same function to read the names under the Borg header. In the end, we will end up with 4 fully customizable officer lists.

   I also noticed that, in the main menu, after select the ‘TYPHON PACT CAMPAIGN’, you are faced with a menu that has buttons with a ‘NO SUPPORTED’ text.
   I’ve already found how to fix this issue, and make these buttons available for customization. And the images can be replaced with the Q3_Editor, right?
   Why are these buttons not supported, after modding the campaigns?
   The game search for all the “.mct” files in the “\Assets\Scripts\Campaigns\” folder, and load all of them. Then it compares the arguments that it finds in the lines “Name=???” with a list located at the file offset ‘0x54DF9C’ in the EXE. If the names doesn' match this list, the buttons will not work.
   The good news is, that if this list is updated, using SFC Editor for example, each button will then call the right campaign for us, instead of just filling space in that menu.
    I have already tested this one.

Voilá! 2 potencial mod improvements.
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2017, 09:13:24 am »
At the moment, I'm working on some personal projects.

One of them is the 'Sfc3 HD & Gamespy' patch that i made sometime ago. I reworked the way it works, so we can config it from the 'sfc.ini' file.
I am also slowly improving a tool, that we can use to launch the SFC games, set its resolution, and host our own personal gamespy and dynaverse services.

I did some small changes to the last SFC3.EXE i was working, and wrote a fix for the single campaign buttons, that are not working on your Typhon mod.
By using the SFC Editor, for example, that is included in the zip bellow, you will be able to customize the name of the campaign, each specific button, will call. And each name can have up to 15 chars atm.
Everything was tested, and is well documented.

Cheers.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiumJZOPROpbg-BiV6hxKHpoJ_lfog
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 12:07:37 pm by d4v1ks »
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Offline JanB

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2017, 08:42:41 am »
(...) would like to make both mods even better by customizing them specific to the mod universe we've created.  Specifically, we'd like to (...) assign races to the 'blank' AI's that Taldren left open, but did not finish.  We are hoping once we get into these files we can change the game logic and potentially add UI to the open 4 race slots. i.e. Species 8472, Cardassians (...)

I took a look in your ideia today, and, related to the UI specifically, you would need a lot of assembly code changed, and massive modifications to the sprites.q3, to give UIs to all the 'blank' races.
Even so, these would be the easiest modifications of all. Because, the game calls almost every UI by name. And those names can be searched easily.
The game seems harcoded to 4 races almost everywhere i looked. And they didnt left any code to handle those extra 4 races. It would need to be created.
In the end, if we were sucessful at this task, there isnt any reason to think that the game would 'see' those changes, because the UI is just a part of the game logic.
Just this part looks almost impossible. And i like this ideia alot.
My 10 cents..

This is AlDaja 's programmer Amro.  Thanks for the reply.  If we could get a q3 and the related files with the UI opened  for the other races (excluding the Ferengi) we could make the game work with all races. When we were experimenting with adding 8 races  for our mod SFC:III - Typhon Pact, we found that we had inadvertently made the other four race slots playable.  They were operating correctly, however, they were missing some of the race specific UI elements. Therefore, I think with us changing the game as much as we have for our mod, I believe we have already recoded much of the game to work with 8 playable races.  Wherever AlDaja saw any coding for only 4 races, he added the coding for the full 8 presuming that was necessary for our mod.  Adding to that I have enough control over the mission scripts to add scripts for all 8 races. I honestly think that if you could add the UI elements or could tell me how to do it myself,  I would have a working knowledge with what we have on our side and could have a full and complete 8-race playable SFC3 that then can be released to the larger SFC III community.

If we can achieve this it will undoubtedly inspire new mods.

I tried playing around with this a long time ago. Eventually I came to the conclusion that too much stuff is hardcoded for us to add extra playable races. To add extra race slots to the skirmish/multiplayer menus I wouldn't even know where to begin and although you can actually add campaigns and rewrite the mission scripts for extra races those extra races lack UIs (and you can't just add UIs, they have to be recognized by the .exe) and do not list any ships in the shipyard for the player to buy.

Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2017, 10:30:01 am »
(...) would like to make both mods even better by customizing them specific to the mod universe we've created.  Specifically, we'd like to (...) assign races to the 'blank' AI's that Taldren left open, but did not finish.  We are hoping once we get into these files we can change the game logic and potentially add UI to the open 4 race slots. i.e. Species 8472, Cardassians (...)

I took a look in your ideia today, and, related to the UI specifically, you would need a lot of assembly code changed, and massive modifications to the sprites.q3, to give UIs to all the 'blank' races.
Even so, these would be the easiest modifications of all. Because, the game calls almost every UI by name. And those names can be searched easily.
The game seems harcoded to 4 races almost everywhere i looked. And they didnt left any code to handle those extra 4 races. It would need to be created.
In the end, if we were sucessful at this task, there isnt any reason to think that the game would 'see' those changes, because the UI is just a part of the game logic.
Just this part looks almost impossible. And i like this ideia alot.
My 10 cents..

This is AlDaja 's programmer Amro.  Thanks for the reply.  If we could get a q3 and the related files with the UI opened  for the other races (excluding the Ferengi) we could make the game work with all races. When we were experimenting with adding 8 races  for our mod SFC:III - Typhon Pact, we found that we had inadvertently made the other four race slots playable.  They were operating correctly, however, they were missing some of the race specific UI elements. Therefore, I think with us changing the game as much as we have for our mod, I believe we have already recoded much of the game to work with 8 playable races.  Wherever AlDaja saw any coding for only 4 races, he added the coding for the full 8 presuming that was necessary for our mod.  Adding to that I have enough control over the mission scripts to add scripts for all 8 races. I honestly think that if you could add the UI elements or could tell me how to do it myself,  I would have a working knowledge with what we have on our side and could have a full and complete 8-race playable SFC3 that then can be released to the larger SFC III community.

If we can achieve this it will undoubtedly inspire new mods.

I tried playing around with this a long time ago. Eventually I came to the conclusion that too much stuff is hardcoded for us to add extra playable races. To add extra race slots to the skirmish/multiplayer menus I wouldn't even know where to begin and although you can actually add campaigns and rewrite the mission scripts for extra races those extra races lack UIs (and you can't just add UIs, they have to be recognized by the .exe) and do not list any ships in the shipyard for the player to buy.

I kinda figured that would be the case, but thought I'd pick your brain to see if you had tried to do this before and you have.  Thanks for the feedback.  I'll let Amro know.  Anyway, I think the way we set it up for Typhon Pact is still pretty good.  Folks get to play as the other four races.  Just would have been nice to combine both the main title game and bonus game into one singular campaign.

EDIT:  Amro decided to give it a second look completely combining our mods to give it a deeper look and came to the same conclusion.  Noting that combining everything into one playable mod as opposed to dividing the races into two separate mod options like we did for Typhon Pact, yielded less than desirable results.  Playing in the Cardassian and 8472 slots,  ships can't be purchased at all.  If you play as the Rekelli or Pirate slots, the stations attack you whenever you attempt to refit or refuel and ALL ships attack you when  playing in these race slots.  We did notice though that if you go to any Neutral stations, you can refuel and repair playing as the Rekelli or Pirates.  So that's that.  Without doing major fixes to the AI in exe the UI is negligible in comparison.  Sucks.   ... Ah, well.

P.S. - Also going to be updating the Typhon Pact mod when we complete our mirror universe mod with your shuttle fix. :)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 11:10:39 am by AlDaja »
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Offline AlDaja

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2017, 10:37:41 am »
At the moment, I'm working on some personal projects.

One of them is the 'Sfc3 HD & Gamespy' patch that i made sometime ago. I reworked the way it works, so we can config it from the 'sfc.ini' file.
I am also slowly improving a tool, that we can use to launch the SFC games, set its resolution, and host our own personal gamespy and dynaverse services.

I did some small changes to the last SFC3.EXE i was working, and wrote a fix for the single campaign buttons, that are not working on your Typhon mod.
By using the SFC Editor, for example, that is included in the zip bellow, you will be able to customize the name of the campaign, each specific button, will call. And each name can have up to 15 chars atm.
Everything was tested, and is well documented.

Cheers.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiumJZOPROpbg-BiV6hxKHpoJ_lfog

Ok, great.  Amro got the file and really didn't see what you fixed other than jumping from our title screen directly to the skirmish screen.  With regard to the "Unsupported" buttons before clicking to the Typhon Pact conquest, those were disabled intentionally and was done for the benefit of many of our second language fans who didn't quite understand that Typhon Pact is a conquest only mod, even though it was included with the "Read Me"; got tired of having to troubleshoot a non-issue.  So what we did with future updates was remove all the pertinent files to the stock campaign and just wrote "unsupported" on the stock campaign buttons; that way if they clicked on it, they'd be promptly instructed that the stock game is disabled and to proceed to the "Typhon Pact  "conquests" option our mod is tailored to.

Amro noted the editor you included has an error.  Each time he tries to open it, it collapses with an error say a file is missing.  We are using Windows 7.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 10:52:46 am by AlDaja »
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2017, 04:24:16 pm »
What we did with future updates was remove all the pertinent files to the stock campaign and just wrote "unsupported" on the stock campaign buttons

I understand.
But what if you could do something like i show you, on the attachments bellow?
It was what i offered on the link i posted.

Also, what if you could play or host your own private/public multiplayer Thypon Pact  campaigns?
It is already possible.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 04:35:50 pm by d4v1ks »
"But he isn't wearing anything at all!" (The Emperor's New Clothes)

Offline AlDaja

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    • Star Trek: Starfleet Command III - Sra'xa'diin Shipyards
Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2017, 04:50:55 pm »
What we did with future updates was remove all the pertinent files to the stock campaign and just wrote "unsupported" on the stock campaign buttons

I understand.
But what if you could do something like i show you, on the attachments bellow?
It was what i offered on the link i posted.

Also, what if you could play or host your own private/public multiplayer Thypon Pact  campaigns?
It is already possible.

Awesomeness.  If you want to update the mod and host (if you are able) that would be cool.  Our current Internet doesn't allow us to set up a server as we are sharing the same IP with other people in our household and it confuses the game.  If you do choose to host, please provide us with the server name so we can join and play.
Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgments.

Offline d4v1ks

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Re: SFC:III accessing the Componet and Driver files.
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2017, 05:17:29 pm »
What we did with future updates was remove all the pertinent files to the stock campaign and just wrote "unsupported" on the stock campaign buttons

I understand.
But what if you could do something like i show you, on the attachments bellow?
It was what i offered on the link i posted.

Also, what if you could play or host your own private/public multiplayer Thypon Pact  campaigns?
It is already possible.

Awesomeness.  If you want to update the mod and host (if you are able) that would be cool.  Our current Internet doesn't allow us to set up a server as we are sharing the same IP with other people in our household and it confuses the game.  If you do choose to host, please provide us with the server name so we can join and play.

I can't host any public server atm.
Also, the Sfc3.exe i provided is only compatible with the new 'SFC Launcher 1.0.3' tool i'm working on.

But i released a previous version that you can use to host a private LAN Campaign in your home.
You dont need access to any public service to use it.
It can be a bit hard, or confusing, to setup.
But, some people were sucessful at running it already.
"But he isn't wearing anything at all!" (The Emperor's New Clothes)