Author Topic:  Starting conditions - *.pkk work  (Read 1033 times)

26 Mar 17

Read 1033 times

Offline RizZen

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DOWNLOAD MCG Darkest Hours v3.0 here
(Remastered MechCommander)

In this thread the main objectives are just two ( single-player campaign related) files. These are the two files defining the starting conditions on both playable campaigns (original & expansion merge). They are in games savegame folder, here is the path they should have:
C:\Games\MCG Darkest Hours\data\savegame\Start0.pkk (Original startup)
C:\Games\MCG Darkest Hours\data\savegame\xStart0.pkk (Expansion startup)

This needs a separate topic.
From original cMunsta extract

Just a quick note to say what the format for the file list
used by MAKESOL and MAKEFST is as follows:

u filename
c filename

The first letter is a command to say if the file should be
compressed or not. (u = uncompressed, c = compressed).

The filename can be any file relative to the directory to tool
is in. That is, if the tool is in the MechCommander Gold game
directory, the the tool will have access to all files in this
dir and all subdirs below it.

Do not use a ".\" in front of the filenames. If you wanted to
access say, "test.abi" in ".\data\missions", then the filename
to use would be data\missions\test.abi

Note that this precludes having spaces in the filenames.

The list should have one command/filename pair per line, the
command should be at the start of the line.


*.pkk files are same format as *.sol / *.sav files in MCG.

You can find them on your

In order to edit starting mechs you need to edit campaigns starting mech teams. You find them in the folder above.

Start0.pkk -> original campaign starting crew including index *.fit files:
- index0.txt - masterdefinition
    - index1.txt - warrior 0
    - index2.txt - warrior 1

    - index3.txt - warrior 2
    - index4.txt - warrior 3
    - index5.txt - mech1
    - index6.txt - mech2
    - index7.txt - mech3
    - index8.txt - initstore =

XStart.pkk -> expansion campaign starting crew
While working on pkk files for a day now I think I found out why all user campaigns have a not working mission / scenario 0. It seems as if game only accepts the vanilla start0.pkk in the first mission. By introducing a number 1 fake mission without any functions they skipped it and worked around the crashes which are caused using start0.pkk as first mission file. So actually when you work on sol files keep that info in your mind.
My theory is that all user campaigns actually get start0.pkk working by fooling game as if it was start1.pkk. I'm trying to reverse that at the moment but come to the conclusion that I need to use vanilla warriors,mechs and vehicles at campaign start. Also there might be a hard-coded max of warriors and units u can own in mission one. This means I try to work on vanilla start pkk now trying to use and edit original fit files from mission fst file.

« Last Edit: 6 Jul 17 by RizZen »

26 Mar 17

Reply #1

Offline RizZen

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When I started my modding my intention wasn't to change starting conditions. While trying to do that now and being limit in acting by borders game dictates I think it is easier to leave starting conditions 80% vanilla. I think it is better in the end the way I try to build around these limits. I include missions in which you can build your team of wishes on our own.
Like in my first campaign mission, which is the 1st original campaign mission I can introduce other units or warriors by getting them in missions or make them available in shop and adding new missions with enough rp gain to use shop through hole campaign. One big disadvantage of user campaigns was the missing shop data or corrupted purchase links. This is what I fixed in my mod. So you will have mostly vanilla start formation with ur mechs and warriors but u can gain alot mechs in the campaign missions by salvaging like a mad cat j in mission 1 for example.
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 17 by RizZen »

26 Mar 17

Reply #2

Offline RizZen

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The biggest start0.pkk I found in exodus campaign files. It is an argument that exodus needs more equipment to play from the beginning cause exodus missions are the hardest challenge of all mods. To compensate that having only vanilla start formation in my campaign I put the other user campaign missions in front of exodus. Means u first play 1 original,3 xray missions and 2 from xenocide before you play first exodus missions. So in my campaign it won't be the small crew of the start when u entering first hard missions but the team u formed in the first 6 missions. Later I can add other original missions in campaign to compensate imbalances related to the order of missions and it's individual difficulty.
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 17 by RizZen »

26 Mar 17

Reply #3

Offline Confused Shelf

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Obvious question but where are you finding these pkk files? I can't find half the files I know I had this time last year. Are they in one of the .PAKs?

26 Mar 17

Reply #4

Offline RizZen

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Download MechCommander Gold Original or Darkest Hours v3.0 - for full potential & Extracted-Game-Files from my download link collection.

The *.pkk /  *.sav (both single-player campaigns) / *.sol (solo-missions) / *.mpk (Multi-player scenarios) files you find in:

When you mod MCG general you need these folders
Gamefolder\data\art -> all art files u work on save here including pictures for pilots in missions
Gamefolder\data\art\artlog -> pictures for pilots and nameplates
Gamefolder\data\missions -> all mission and campaign files including purchase files and mission data
Gamefolder\data\missions\warriors -> warrior files and mission brain data
Gamefolder\data\objects -> pilot descriptions, units descriptions
Gamefolder\data\terrain -> all mission map data

Shell commands:

dir /a-d/b/s >list.txt
-> Generates a textfile with including list of files from root directory (where command is started from)

SOLEXTRACT (extracting *.pkk, *.sol file extensions based on compressed indexes):

solextract start0.pkk -1 index.txt
-> Shows you how many files are compressed in the related *.sol index library
In my example i use original start0.pkk containing indexes 0-8 (9 single text {fit} files )

for /L %n in (0,1,8) do solextract start0.pkk %n index%n.txt
-> orders shell to extract index 0,1, till 8 so it creates 9 *.txt files including all fit-data from the extracted start0.pkk. If it works right you should have 9 new files looking so:

List of created files:

The data stored in this file you can see as above (file name isn't important just the order).  When will be compressed is important to keep that order dictated by the first file (the masterdefinition)  so u can rename them, but when creating the list.txt file later do compress and create new *.pkk in correct ORDER. I rename them, so you know what data you have in that start0.pkk:

masterdef.txt -> is like a rules.ini having all starting crew information with links (Pack order) to the existing files in same *.pkk. It also dictates the order the following txt files need to be packed.

Warriors, Mechs, Vehicles -> are the following *.fit/*.txt files. If you add one or take one out or change order you also need to update this in masterdefinition file otherwise game will crash because the order of masterdefinition needs to be the exact order like above. For more take a deeper look into masterdefinition file. Study it and make small changes to see what effect it has. It works a bit complicated needs time to find out how.

initstore.txt -> Needs always to be a copy or same data like purchase00, the initial store at the campaign beginning. Keep these two files always synchronized.
You can change it or making a self made pkk with that files now. In order to do so use the makesol.exe. This requires a list where the files you want to pack are listed. This list has to be the order as above shown, here an example that works quite well with the original files:

Content of list.txt for makesol (be sure the files are in the same folder):

c masterdef.txt
c Hawk.txt
c Lynx.txt
c Hunter.txt
c Beast.txt
c CommandoA.txt
c CommandoW.txt
c FstarterW.txt
c initstore.txt

This simple list orders makesol.exe from cmunsta to create a new start0.pkk, therefore use this command:

C:\workfolder\makesol list.txt start0.pkk
(be sure there is no start0.pkk anymore in same folder otherwise it can crash or problems overriding file with same name).
If everything worked fine you have a new start.pkk now... - or to be exactly u made a copy of the original. Now copy that into game folder and try if it works. If you can play like before it was succesful and you can begin making changes (only a few per step recommended to reduce lack of searching for bugs and mistakes), save the txt file, pack/create new *.pkk, copy it to game folder and test again.
If no other way found to handle problems by creating start files for campaign. Also manually writing the files is much work and humans do mistakes, so it is a hard challenge handling these files - making them work at the end with my experience.

That's a simple reminder i wrote while working on pkk files which are actually savegames. No real difference but file extension is different all in all *.sav, *.sol, *.pkk & *.mpk are in same way compressed index files and, that's why u can edit them with cmunsta's sol tools.
The *.FST and *.DPK files are compressed with file names and folders (sub-folders) as libraries. But actually .dpk and .fst are actually the same file format too (its shape file format with 6bytes added at the beginning).
« Last Edit: 6 Jul 17 by RizZen »

7 Apr 17

Reply #5

Offline RizZen

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Old Thread Content - MCG Darkest Hours Full version 3.0 is released and working fine!
If there are any wishes for starting mech teams this is the time to gimme ur personal wish list of mechs and vehicles on campaign start of my MCG merge. At the moment there is:
- original startup with mechs and warriors vanilla (hard)
- ultimate start0.pkk (to download where mod files are) -> starting with more mechs, including jagermech and some refit trucks (normal/easy)

Planned are all existent user campaign start-ups to be in final mod. To change your starting crew at major campaign merge then you only need to backup start0pkk in games savegame folder and then replacing with other start0.pkk by copy and paste or renaming the other start pkk file. So players can decide with what startup mechbay  they wanna play.


Newer content
mod version 2.0 contains 3 pre-installed new start.pkk files. Two files optional for original overriding campaign (look your mods savegame folder start0.pkk=original overriding xstart0.pkk=expansion overriding) and one for expansion.
Ultimate startup normal (overriding original):
4 pilots
3 mechs unassigned
3 light mechs assigned
3 refit trucks
Ultimate startup hard (look above):
4 pilots
3 assigned light mechs (vanilla startup)
To play hard style go to your savegame mod 2.0 folder and rename the matching start0.pkk to start0.pkk (backup or rename the other startup before overriding).

To understand
All starting warriors, mechs and vehicles in player mech bay are saved in start0.pkk for original campaign and xstart0.pkk for expansion (later start-ups will follow to dynamic decide on your own with what combo you wanna start to make it a challenge or fight with your dream team).

Ultimate expansion startup
Several new pilots in shop
Solid mechbay with two mad cats in starting team formation.
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 17 by RizZen »

28 Jun 17

Reply #6

Offline mrZonke

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Hi RizZen and anyone else.

I've been enjoying Darkest Hours v3 for a couple of weeks now.
It's an amazing release and I'm so happy and grateful this old game still gets such love, I've been playing it on and off for almost 20 years :D

Thought I'd share my custom start0.pkk in case anyones interested.

All four starting pilots are green. 
3000 RP
Starting mechs are two Commando-A and one Firestarter-J with heavy flamer and large laser (I'm pretending it's two COM-2D's and an FS9-K).
No components in inventory and none available for purchase at the start.

I like playing the campaigns sticking to MCG interpretations of canonical variants and then "selling" extra pilots (personal) to represent man hours for reasonable modifications :p 
Along with a slew of other compulsive rules made up, it makes the game more interesting and immersive for an old battletech lore buff lol

Anyways, thank you so much for the awesome release!!!

30 Jun 17

Reply #7

Offline RizZen

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thank you for your gift. Nice to see someone is working on my files. I wanted to create more starting files too but am very happy to see this. When you have more things to release or ideas/wishes to share your free to publish it for darkest hours ;).

Have fun