Author Topic:  Project Campaign Merging - Ultimate brainstorming  (Read 777 times)

14 Mar 17

Read 777 times

Offline RizZen

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DOWNLOAD the Ultimate RizZen Campaign here:
MCG - Darkest Hours Page

Hello dear (almost vanished) no guts no galaxy mech commander fans!

Two weeks ago I found this old game and started playing again. After finishing the first two campaigns

Original (30 missions)
Desperate Measures (12 missions)

I downloaded the Bengal, X-Ray, exodus ... 3 major campaigns made by users with all in all 100 more missions to play.

The real bad thing for me was that you couldn't take over your team to the expansion after finishing original campaign.

I started to try doing it myself manually and failed handling with *.sav/*.pkk files at the beginning but then found your database and some information about a user called cmunsta. I downloaded his tools, found some other sites like Github and started to play with the gamefiles. First I learned how to get your team through all campaigns by hacking the start0.pkk files at campaigns beginnings.

But it wasn't enough to me. It is no pleasure to build new starting files after some missions.

So I decided to do what never has been done or finished before, merging all campaigns made by users in one major campaign.

To be faster I splitted to two campaigns I'm building:

1. The overwriting "original game" campaign including: original + all three available user campaigns (~80-100) missions playable in ONE major campaign.

2. The overwriting "expansion game" campaign including: desperate measures + three other expansion campaigns by users (~40-50) missions to play as one campaign.

So atleast it will also be possible to take your final team at the end of the first major campaign to the expansion but won't make much sense cause with this amount of missions you can see it playing two different stories then with two different starting conditions.

The biggest problem for me at the moment is how to get each data/terrain/ file extracted out of the mod campaigns .fst files.

So if anyone wants to help and knows more about extracting ALL files of a .fst tell me how it can be done. At the moment this is my only problem cause to load mission files with an editor I need to have the individual files for each mission which actually I can not extract.

At the moment I have a campaign with 9 original and 9 mod campaign missions working but to do more I need help in extracting or recreating the files.
« Last Edit: 26 May 17 by RizZen »

14 Mar 17

Reply #1

Offline slickrcbd

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This thread might help

As might this link

Could you post some links to where you got the custom solo maps? I think I accidentally deleted any maps I downloaded and a lot of links I'm finding are broken.

15 Mar 17

Reply #2

Offline RizZen

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Yeah thank you but I've already got all valuable information of all threads of this forum including all extracted data. What I need to know is how to extract two files with the same name out of a *.fst:

data/missions -> individual
data/terrain -> individual terrain

Fstextract only extracts the first file it finds and it's always the from mission folder. The mission fit of terrain it doesn't extract cause fstextract refuses to take any paths to sub folders...

To your question: all regular mission files you can find in the extracted data from what you gave me above. All regular missions are saved in mission.fst file in root folder. Extracted files from ur download including all regular missions in it.

What was harder was to find out which files actually belong to what mission cause the developers didn't had a straight naming procedure... so u need to find out urself what files u need to have a complete regular mission. I already have mission 1-10 separated and can change them successful on own delight.

Hope it helps.

Edit: I try to explain easy how missions work on mech commander:

Each mission contains several files in sub directories. These files are compressed in *.fst (familiar to zip/7z compressed) files. The mission.fst & terrain.fst files in your game root directory including all files from a mission.

In fst files the files are stored like a library with sub directories. To change game you need these:

\MCXgamefolder\ all .fst files game contains
\MCXgamefolder\data\missions (all mission data files)
MCXgamefolder\data\missions\warriors (mission brain files and warriors)
\MCXgamefolder\data\terrain (mission map files)

Each mission should contain these files:

Mission.fst files:

data\missions\ (for solo "campaign" mission)
data\missions\map1.txt (briefing text)
data\missions\ (only if campaign mission)

Warrior/brain files

Terrain.fst files:

You see to have successfully implemented campaign mission you need minimum 19 files containing all data mission uses to run with its individual map and mission objectives.

If you use original campaign missions it's very simple to extract and separate these missions. Hard is to relink them after changing file names cause missions are linked to the other mission files. When you rename you need to replace these links in the mission data files in order to run it later. And it's important to know that original missions contain more files than these above cause they are scripted and some changes the developers did you can't implement with game editor.

If you use the game editor to work on original missions you need to keep in mind that all units on the map are scripted manually by the developers or with another program than editor or extender. The editor just can open the original maps but it won't show you the mission data like objectives and no units will be placed.

These are scripted missions and the units and objectives are to find in abl files.
In order to edit these without recreating whole mission data manually you need to put in additional units manually instead.

What should be possible are map changes without touching mission data means you probably can add buildings and bridges without scripting.
« Last Edit: 15 Mar 17 by RizZen »

20 Mar 17

Reply #3

Offline RizZen

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I have managed to merge

Mission 1 - RizZen Original
Mission 2-34 - Xenocide & Exodus User Campaigns in mixed order.

in one campaign overriding the original campaign.

All in all this means I managed to create an independent 34 missions campaign with missions of before three different campaigns in a single one.

Now I needed to add some purchase files and making changes in files. And now this is the first usermade campaign working standalone with this mission count.

Harder willbe to add X-Ray campaign cause X-Ray is way different then the other two available user campaigns. But I won't give up on that.

The "new mission order" will mix the missions of existing campaigns in a way that orirignal mission order of each campaign related to operation numbers will stay the same.

So it won't be like you play f.e.

Mission 1 original
Mission 10 exodus
Mission 8 xenocide

It will be more like:

Playing first mission 1-5 of original campaign
followed by
Mission 1 xenocide
Mission 2 xenocide
Mission 1 exodus
Mission 2 exodus
Mission 3 xenocide
Mission 3 exodus
Mission 6-10 original
And so on.

So you can build up a good functioning mech crew by playing the early missions first and at the end the hardest ending missions.

At the moment my campaign merge contains 34 working missions but I try to enlarge by adding the missing 29 original missions from now and finding a way to work with 26 X-ray campaign missions means could be 89 missions in a single campaign if it is done.

21 Mar 17

Reply #4

Offline SeanLang

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Interesting indeed...

Only major issue I see with this is logistics, which assets are available to the player. There might have to be some adjustments made, but regardless very cool!

I always wanted to play the original + expansion campaign together.

21 Mar 17

Reply #5

Offline RizZen

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Well I will make some .rar files and will upload my work soon.

Yeah playing both campaigns as a one is also one of my tasks but due to the fact original contains more missions and that original files easy to include with other originals but expansion is another store/map data defined by planets.

It is definitely possible to switch that but it will cause errors I bet because some pilots exists twice and there maybe problem with game handling different planets and so on...

All in all it is a big amount of work.

If I can run 3 campaigns of the original similar soon I will merge expansion next. After that we can talk about merging expansion / original.

For now to play on expansion with same team it is also possible you just need to build a new start0.pkk containing warriors and mechs of your last savegame.

To do that you need cmunsta's tools in order to extract files of ur savegame and packing them in a new sol file which then just need to be packed with the master definition file of expansion campaign and it's initstore.

For the files I upload soon I will open a new download section.

Ur wishes for logistics: we talk about all that stuff when I have built a running campaign. In order to do it fast I will just do editing to get it work not to change gameplay or anything else. Purchase data will be same as vanilla but change from mission 31 on cause vanilla campaign has not more than 30 purchase files.


I could separate all user campaigns now:

Original Exodus - 16 missions
Original Bengal - 18 missions
Original X-Ray - 26 missions
Original MCG - 30 missions (mission data 3-30 missing needs to be manually rewritten)
90 missions if merged as original

Expansion Turncoat - 5 missions
Expansion Bengal - 12 missions
Expansion DSC - 12 missions
Expansion MCG - 12 missions (without mission data)
41 missions when merged as expansion

Unknown MechWarrior3 - ~30 missions
(With an expansion campaign file)
When I can integrate to expansion it could contain 71 missions.

So in the end there could be really two independent big campaigns on one game if it's successful ongoing like now.
« Last Edit: 21 Mar 17 by RizZen »

22 Mar 17

Reply #6

Offline RizZen

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As one of my fore posters said: some pics can show more than 1000 words.

For more take a look here.
« Last Edit: 26 May 17 by RizZen »

23 Mar 17

Reply #7

Offline Confused Shelf

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Keep up the good work. Interested to see how this progresses.

23 Mar 17

Reply #8

Offline RizZen

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« Last Edit: 26 May 17 by RizZen »

23 Mar 17

Reply #9

Offline Confused Shelf

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Is there a restriction on going from a mission on one planet's assets to one on the other? Not possible for a Port Arthur and a Cermak in the same campaign?

24 Mar 17

Reply #10

Offline RizZen

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It is definitely possible.

The difference are map tile sets which are bit different.

All in all the difference is just between
Planet = 0
Planet = 1
In mission fit files.

Maybe it's only working when overriding expansion cause most original campaign missions don't even have the line "planet" in fit file so default is planet 0.

Before I try to do I will finish my current project, I do also in order to reduce possible crashes it could cause.

The way I go now causes only a few manageable bugs which I can solve. Maybe I couldn't do with different planets that easy so I decided to wait with expansion for first.

What I definitely can say that working with expansion files will be more satisfying cause in comparison to all original campaign missions it's only a hand full of missions.
Second thing is that I feel that expansion was only made to let original scripted missions alive. The existing 30 basic missions where totally scripted, unusable with editor and needed to be cut out carefully piece by piece out of the mission.fst library.
To merge them vanilla with expansion is not possible the easy way.

The reason I'm so fast merging user campaigns is that all that missions where made by editor and that the developers of it already did the most work to make them comfortable for campaign modding.
The basic 30 original missions I will need to recreate all mission data and objective just working on empty map files right now cause original scripts and original file management was a mess when it goes over to scripting. Looks as if they had a tight time table and made lot of things in a rush. Also found and corrected handful of bugs in original campaign data files.
« Last Edit: 24 Mar 17 by RizZen »

24 Mar 17

Reply #11

Offline Confused Shelf

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When you were modding the purchase files, did you find where the default/starting mechs and mechwarriors are defined?

Whenever you play the original campaign you start with Beast, Hawk, Hunter and Lynx, along with two Commandos and a Firestarter.

What I've found is that these mechwarriors and vehicles don't look at the related PMWxxxxx.FIT or PMxxxxxx.FIT.

I modified the weapons on the commando but it only affects mechs I buy or fight, not the starting two.

Likewise I changed the colour of some mechwarriors but Beast, Hawk, Hunter and Lynx aren't affected, only those I buy or am gifted (like Falcon and Firestorm).

I'm worried this might be in the .exe but maybe you know better.

From what I remember of the player created campaigns, the ones set on Port Arthur use Beast, Hawk, Hunter and Lynx, but the ones set on Cermark do not use the expansion starter mechs/mechwarriors. I definitely remember one with Mystique and Baron.

24 Mar 17

Reply #12

Offline RizZen

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These data is compressed in *.sol files with a simple file index


They only contain *.fit files but without file names. The order of them is important.

In *.pkk (start0 = original campaign f.e.), *.sol (solo mission) files, which are actually the same, the order is:

01 (warriors all in a row)
04 (now mechs)
07 (vehicles)

Index from 00-08 = 9 single *.fit files need to be compressed to *.sol with makesol.exe of cmunstas tools.
Look the order files have in list above keep this index order and this will give u the team above. Only these are used at campaign start.

You can have any starting option how to do is readable in detail in cmunstas campaign building guide (search for start0.pkk.)

Purchase data doesn't have to do anything with start crew only connection is initstore as it is actually """ of campaign containing all shop data at campaign start.

Also means initstore & purchase00 always need to be the same otherwise game will crash cause it needs this fit file twice, one in regular and in start0.pkk (xStart0.pkk for expansion) compressed.

In order to change starting shop u need definitely overwrite start0.pkk with ur version.

To keep original start.pkk u Need to extract all indexes replace the last index "init store".fit with ur purchase00 start fit. Same with warrior or files.
« Last Edit: 24 Mar 17 by RizZen »

24 Mar 17

Reply #13

Offline RizZen

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Operation 4, Mission 12

Op5Mis10, Briefing Screen (Mission 60)

In-game Mission 60

Next steps:

Now I finally merged all user campaign missions and they work as a single player campaign overriding the original campaign.

All in all my campaign includes 60 playable missions.

I've to add 8 new mech warriors.
To spare time I just copied image/sound/video files random from existing warriors. I only changed some names and balanced their skills to have unique warriors.

Now they need to be implemented in all purchase files. I have finished 17 of 63 purchase so far. Tomorrow I may get the ones left done in order to erase last bugs appearing when pilots ids used twice.

Last step then will be creating a new start0.pkk with updated mechs, warriors, masterdefinition and initstore file.

When this is finished I can upload the biggest campaign ever created for MCG.
« Last Edit: 24 Mar 17 by RizZen »

25 Mar 17

Reply #14

Offline RizZen

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Okay I have several versions of start files for campaign now. Making changes is more complicated than expected. 1 More start equipment / warriors leads to exponential required changes on later entries which makes work disturbing right now.

I already have 2 working start files (one is a modified vanilla).

If u have any wishes for starting units for such a big 89/41 missions total campaign feel free to post here ^^

This thread can be closed, mod is done:

MCG - Darkest Hours

- 89/41 Missions as two playable big campaigns
 - gaining 13 Warriors from the battlefield
 - 20 new mechwarriors available in the ingame shop
 - first campaign with working purchases for more than 130 missions
 - including all Xenocide // X-Ray // Exodus & Original Missions from vanilla MCG
 - new artwork (Buttons, Nameplates, Warrior pictures)
 - rebalanced warrior skills (especially the ones from mission gifts)
 - playing all campaigns similar
 - more updates in progress
« Last Edit: 26 May 17 by RizZen »