Extended Mod Support in 1.04

A forum to discuss custom scenarios, campaigns and modding in general.

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IainMcNeil
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Extended Mod Support in 1.04

Post by IainMcNeil » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:43 am

Hi guys

Alex has written some preview information for the v1.04 patch and the extended mod support that is coming very very soon. He's still travelling so couldn't post it himself. We think it's great and hiope you do to. It really opens up some very interesting options when it comes to campaign and scenario design. We hope you enjoy it!


Panzer Corps 1.04 supports user-created mods providing custom campaigns. Here is how it works.

- All mods must be placed in "%My Documents%\My Games\Panzer Corps\Mods" folder. If the Mods folder does not exist, it must be created. Every mod resides in its own subfolder. The designer of the mod can provide a full-blown installer that will place his mod in the Mods folder, or a package which the user will unpack and place in this folder manually.

- Inside the mod subfolder there must be a text file called GUID.txt which will contain a unique mod ID. It is an arbitrary string, and it is the designer's responsibility to make sure his ID is unique and unlikely to be used by any other mods. One way to achieve this is to generate a Globally unique identifier (GUID, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globally_unique_identifier) and place it in the file. You can use of one the many availabel web site to generate a GUID, for example http://createguid.com/. If you have a web site dedicated to your mod, another idea is to use the URL of your web site as the unique ID of your mod. URLs are guaranteed to be unique in the Internet, so other modders are unlikely to use the same URL.

- All the other files and folders inside the mod subfolder repeat folder structure of the main game, for example:
Data folder contains campaigns, scenarios and equipment table
Data/Briefings folder contains briefing files
Graphics folder contains all graphics used by the game
Graphics/Units folder contains unit icons
etc.

If any file is placed in the mod folder, it overrides the same file in the main game. Any game files missing in the mod folder are taken from the base game installation. So it is possible to selectively replace any of the game's files with their custom versions. For example, a mod could replace equipment table with its own custom version (Data/equipment.pzeqp file), or use the default equipment table. The same approach can be used for graphics files, audio files, UI layout files etc.

- Every mod is supposed to provide one or several custom campaigns. If there are no campaigns in the mod, it will be ignored. This means that a minimal mod must include Data subfolder, and inside it a custom campaign.pzdat file describing all the campaign(s) included in the mod, and also all scenario files (*.pzscn and *.pzloc) required by these custom campaign(s).

- If there are any custom mods installed on the PC, the game will detect them and show an additional "More Campaigns" button on the campaign selection screen. Click on this button will bring up a popup screen with all custom campaigns listed under "User-made Campaigns" subsection. Note: for now, there is no option to access individual scenarios from the mods.

- The game switches to the right mod folder after a campaign provided by this mod is selected from the list and all settings are configured (difficulty, weather, supply, fog of war etc.). This means that the main menu and campaign selection UI cannot be changed/overriden by the mods. However, all UI used after campaign is started (e. g. turn splash screen, main game screen, purchase screen etc.) can be customized.

In addition to this, there is a new option to link campaigns together, so that the user can proceed with his core force from one campaign to another one. This feature is used to link together separate episodes of the Grand Campaign, but this feature is available to user-created campaigns too. Here is how to use it.

- Typically campaign file uses END label to specify that the campaign ends after a certain outcome in a given scenario. To tell the game that the player can proceed to a different campaign after ending current one, you need to create a custom end label. It must begin with END prefix, followed by any custom string. For example, Grand Campaign '39 DLC uses END_SAVE_CORE label (instead of just END) to mark points where you can proceed to Grand Campaign '40 - after any outcome in Narvik scenario. Campaign path entry for Narvik looks like this:

Code: Select all

Narvik NarvikA.pzbrf Narvik.pzscn [b]END_SAVE_CORE[/b] 600 NarvikB_decisive.pzbrf [b]END_SAVE_CORE[/b] 350 NarvikC_marginal.pzbrf [b]END_SAVE_CORE[/b] 500 NarvikD_loss.pzbrf

Note that END_SAVE_CORE is used three times here, for each of the three possible outcomes (decisive victory, marginal victory or loss). When the game encounters a custom end label, like END_SAVE_CORE in the example above, it saves player's status (core force, prestige and a few other parameters) into a file before returning to main menu. This happens completely transparently to the player.

- When you create a new campaign, you can tell the game that it can continue from some other existing campaign. To do this, you must specify the GUID of the mod and custom end label from which the player can proceed to your campaign. These parameters are specified in the 9th and 10th columns of the entry point table respectively. Here is an example of the entry point table from the Grand Campaign '40 DLC:

Code: Select all

Eben-Emael 15 German attention turns to the West with a daring campaign to topple its old enemy: France. 0 0 2100 Grand Campaign '40 Grand Campaign [b]{C6FE45B9-F408-45af-9709-1064FDC83694} END_SAVE_CORE[/b]  

Here {C6FE45B9-F408-45af-9709-1064FDC83694} is the ID of the Grand Campaign '39 DLC (it is a GUID), and END_SAVE_CORE is custom end label. This data tells the game that player's core saved after '39 Narvik scenario can be used to play '40 campaign.

- Every time the user starts a new campaign, the game checks if there are any matching cores saved earlier which could be used in it. If such cores are found, the game will prompt the user to import one of them, or just start the campaign in default mode (with core force configured by campaign designer).

- It is possible to have different continuations for different results in the previous campaign. To do this, just use different custom end labels for different endings of the campaign, and then link different campaigns to these end labels.

- It is the responsibility of the campaign designer to make sure that the transfer of the core force from one campaign to a different one is safe. For example, both campaigns are supposed to use the same equipment table, because otherwise certain units in the core will not be able to proceed from the first campaign to the second one. Thus, all campaigns comprising the Grand Campaign use the same stock equipment table to avoid this problem.

VPaulus
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Re: Extended Mod Support in 1.04

Post by VPaulus » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:32 am

iainmcneil wrote:
- Every mod is supposed to provide one or several custom campaigns. If there are no campaigns in the mod, it will be ignored. This means that a minimal mod must include Data subfolder, and inside it a custom campaign.pzdat file describing all the campaign(s) included in the mod, and also all scenario files (*.pzscn and *.pzloc) required by these custom campaign(s).
What about cosmetics mods, like sound mods, new units, insignia replacements, etc?

IainMcNeil
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Post by IainMcNeil » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:37 am

These are not yet fully supported. The only way to do it now is copy them over teh base game files, or make a copy of the base game files like a mod and drop them in there.

VPaulus
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Post by VPaulus » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:38 am

iainmcneil wrote:These are not yet fully supported. The only way to do it now is copy them over teh base game files, or make a copy of the base game files like a mod and drop them in there.
Ok. Thanks for replying.

It means that we still have to use GME.

nikivdd
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Cannot start game because the required content package is mi

Post by nikivdd » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:18 pm

I would like to "upgrade" some of my campaigns to the latest patch.

This is what i have done sofar:

I created the mods folder
I have put folder \Italian Campaign there
Then under \Italian Campaign folder i made guid.txt with only the unique ID in there

When i start the game, i get the extra campaign folder, i can pick mine, start it, chose lvl of difficulty and so on, then i get the first briefing and then...
I get the message:
Cannot start game because the required content package is missing

What should i do?
https://www.facebook.com/NikivddPanzerCorps/
https://www.youtube.com/user/Nikivdd1/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd

rezaf
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Post by rezaf » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:27 pm

iainmcneil wrote:These are not yet fully supported. The only way to do it now is copy them over teh base game files, or make a copy of the base game files like a mod and drop them in there.
Well, since you announced these changes only for 1.04 and 1.03 isn't even released, might I suggest you implement that full support before releasing the patch?
If we still need to use GME, the new system is basically worthless for some of the existing mods...

It's also more than a little disappointing that there's no new stuff, like new unit traits (or even actual activation of the existing traits), no fixes to the editor, no improvements to the scripting and so on.

I can see how you appearently are unwilling to put ANY amount of work into stuff like that for updates, but maybe you should think about making a modding DLC or something.

Ah well, don't bother telling me my expectations are "unrealistic", I already know you feel that way.
A sad notion.

Edit: 1.04 was basically released as I wrote this, so forget it. I'll instead suggest that you get to work on 1.05 as soon as possible.
_____
rezaf

Kerensky
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Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:35 pm

Actually...
1.04 is out. :)
There are a few new tools. You can now configure Bonus unit limits and caps instead of having them hard coded at 3. The ability to link campaign is a pretty significant new tool as well. There are improvements to the AI scripting in the AI Action Fields. As for 'fixes' in the editor. I wasn't aware anything was broken. Can you elaborate on this? Bugs or problems get priority attention.

Xerkis
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Post by Xerkis » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:41 pm

It sounds to me like you basically recreated the Generic Mod Editor with some extra features?
Not saying that is a bad thing – just saying.
:wink:

Kerensky
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Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:54 pm

Xerkis wrote:It sounds to me like you basically recreated the Generic Mod Editor with some extra features?
Not saying that is a bad thing – just saying.
:wink:
We learned from the best. :idea: Hahah!

Seriously though, as is fairly typical in gaming communities, the custom community does tend to race ahead of official development. The team is the team, we've only got a few people. The rest of the community, in theory, could be the other 7 billion people on this planet. Even if it's only 100 people out of that 7 billion... well that's still 100 people VS what, 5-10?

But there are things that we can do that the custom community can't. I don't see anyone around here coming up with linked campaigns or captured units, the mechanics to support them, or the campaigns to explore them.

So while the custom community does race ahead, it lacks a degree off... refinement that you can get through official development. I'm hopeful that the custom community will continue to race ahead, and we're happy to refine and then incorporate their best ideas into the base game.

It's also common Blizzard practice. WoW has taken all kinds of features from supposed 'WoW killers' and made it their own. ;)

Kerensky
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Re: Cannot start game because the required content package i

Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:57 pm

nikivdd wrote:I would like to "upgrade" some of my campaigns to the latest patch.

This is what i have done sofar:

I created the mods folder
I have put folder \Italian Campaign there
Then under \Italian Campaign folder i made guid.txt with only the unique ID in there

When i start the game, i get the extra campaign folder, i can pick mine, start it, chose lvl of difficulty and so on, then i get the first briefing and then...
I get the message:
Cannot start game because the required content package is missing

What should i do?
Hmm I'll pass this along.

nikivdd
Panzer Corps Map Designer
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Posts: 4228
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Re: Cannot start game because the required content package i

Post by nikivdd » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:06 pm

Kerensky wrote:
nikivdd wrote:I would like to "upgrade" some of my campaigns to the latest patch.

This is what i have done sofar:

I created the mods folder
I have put folder \Italian Campaign there
Then under \Italian Campaign folder i made guid.txt with only the unique ID in there

When i start the game, i get the extra campaign folder, i can pick mine, start it, chose lvl of difficulty and so on, then i get the first briefing and then...
I get the message:
Cannot start game because the required content package is missing

What should i do?
Hmm I'll pass this along.
In the meantime i also rewrote the campaign.pzdat file including only the scenario's for the campaign (and to make it possibly linked in the future), removed the strings file (which is unnessary) and when i start up, it is still the same problem.

And the generic mod enabler doesn't work either anymore with the new version.
https://www.facebook.com/NikivddPanzerCorps/
https://www.youtube.com/user/Nikivdd1/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd

Kerensky
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Re: Cannot start game because the required content package i

Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:09 pm

nikivdd wrote:In the meantime i also rewrote the campaign.pzdat file including only the scenario's for the campaign (and to make it possibly linked in the future), removed the strings file (which is unnessary) and when i start up, it is still the same problem.

And the generic mod enabler doesn't work either anymore with the new version.
With change comes pain, but it'll all be worth it in the end. Can you upload your files somewhere? I'd like to take a look and see if I can't help.

Kerensky
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Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:09 pm

How to get the best use out of the linking system:

Step 1:
You will be able to create a few scenarios and release it as a campaign and let players get their hands on it and test it.

Step 2:
Once you get feedback, you can then continue making your campaign and then release the next 'part' of the campaign.

Step 3:
Anyone who has already played 'Part 1' of your campaign can import their core directly into 'Part 2' and resume as if there was never any break in the campaign at all!

It's a wonderful system that allows for designers and players to quickly and frequently exchange notes and feedback details.
Instead of a 50 scenario campaign taking months to create, it can now be released at a MUCH faster rate as soon as they are ready, and then all the pieces can be joined together.

HBalck
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Post by HBalck » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:12 pm

A very little step forward ! Thank you !
The new unit textures looks to different from the old- that not professional ! Also the french Char-Bis is not in the same scale like the other tanks.
I will rework all this units with my own 3D figures - I can not wait - your upgrades are to slowly.

H.Balck

Kerensky
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Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:16 pm

rezaf wrote: Well, since you announced these changes only for 1.04 and 1.03 isn't even released, might I suggest you implement that full support before releasing the patch?
If we still need to use GME, the new system is basically worthless for some of the existing mods...

It's also more than a little disappointing that there's no new stuff, like new unit traits (or even actual activation of the existing traits), no fixes to the editor, no improvements to the scripting and so on.

I can see how you appearently are unwilling to put ANY amount of work into stuff like that for updates, but maybe you should think about making a modding DLC or something.

Ah well, don't bother telling me my expectations are "unrealistic", I already know you feel that way.
A sad notion.

Edit: 1.04 was basically released as I wrote this, so forget it. I'll instead suggest that you get to work on 1.05 as soon as possible.
_____
rezaf
HBalck wrote:A very little step forward ! Thank you !
The new unit textures looks to different from the old- that not professional ! Also the french Char-Bis is not in the same scale like the other tanks.
I will rework all this units with my own 3D figures - I can not wait - your upgrades are to slowly.

H.Balck
Image

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :D

Xerkis
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Post by Xerkis » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:34 pm

Kerensky wrote:
Xerkis wrote:It sounds to me like you basically recreated the Generic Mod Editor with some extra features?
Not saying that is a bad thing – just saying.
:wink:
We learned from the best. :idea: Hahah!

Seriously though, as is fairly typical in gaming communities, the custom community does tend to race ahead of official development. The team is the team, we've only got a few people. The rest of the community, in theory, could be the other 7 billion people on this planet. Even if it's only 100 people out of that 7 billion... well that's still 100 people VS what, 5-10?

But there are things that we can do that the custom community can't. I don't see anyone around here coming up with linked campaigns or captured units, the mechanics to support them, or the campaigns to explore them.

So while the custom community does race ahead, it lacks a degree off... refinement that you can get through official development. I'm hopeful that the custom community will continue to race ahead, and we're happy to refine and then incorporate their best ideas into the base game.

It's also common Blizzard practice. WoW has taken all kinds of features from supposed 'WoW killers' and made it their own. ;)
I agree 100%
Thus why I said that it's not a bad thing. I think the main good thing about it is one very key point you mentioned.
It's now supported.
No matter how good something else is - if it's not supported, it's not good enough.

Rudankort
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Post by Rudankort » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:01 pm

Hello All!

Custom mod support is still a new feature, and some problems are possible. But we'll do our best to address them asap.

2nikivdd and all others having problems: please send your custom mods to me (rudankort@rsdn.ru), and I'll check what's going on there. Thanks.

El_Condoro
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Post by El_Condoro » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:47 pm

Problem with going back to main menu from a mod: viewtopic.php?t=29119

Problem with scenarios saved in the Editor not working: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2942212

HBalck
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Post by HBalck » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:32 pm

I installed your nw patch - but now in every MP scenario the message is: Cant send e-mail !

H.Balck

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Post by RobertCL » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:33 pm

As long as the Stalingrad standalone scenario is not corrected any new patch does not interest me!

Please focus on the core of the game: scenario design (victory condition settings) and correct what must be corrected:
http://slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... stalingrad

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