Change Portrait Style?

Discussion in 'Fallout Tactics Modding' started by xxxRedMetalxxx, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. xxxRedMetalxxx

    xxxRedMetalxxx Moderator, Game Developer Modder

    235
    Jun 4, 2013
    Ok I've tried opening up the BOS exe with HxD Hex Editor and tampered with a few things, I can't really seem to find where the actual green lines are located but it has something to do with a png or other translucent image being overlapped on top of the portraits.
    The actual Hex in the exe may still contain the key to solving this, but I cannot seem to find it. Reminds me of looking at the Matrix through codes! LOL!

    I then had a look at the BOS exe with PE Explorer (You can still use this free for 30 days) and everything looks different. Almost thought I had it, but the only images I can seem to find or replace are the icons for the BOS file...
    There are more areas of code and what not but again, I can't seem to find anything linked to the green lines.

    I then had another idea...
    Is it possible that the images we need to replace or delete are located within the 'game' PCK file in the program files? I looked it up and it seems that PCK files are resource files for games usually containing sounds or images for the game.
    I then went about acquiring a 'PCK Extractor', I tried RavioliGameTools v2.7.
    The program extracted two resource images that were 'broken jpegs' and I could not see what they initially were. Not sure if I am following the right track but I do find it a coincidence that there were two images in that PCK file, and two images of the green lines need removing, the small portrait, and the large portrait. Might be on to something with that one...

    I'll keep at it and see what I can dig up.
     
  2. RobertHouse

    RobertHouse Fallout Tactics Moderator Modder

    703
    Jun 9, 2013
    Excellent!
    I believe you are on the right track, keep up your work, you might be the first person to ever do this!
     
  3. xxxRedMetalxxx

    xxxRedMetalxxx Moderator, Game Developer Modder

    235
    Jun 4, 2013
    I am now trying to view and edit the PCK file using 'Ultraedit'...
     
  4. xxxRedMetalxxx

    xxxRedMetalxxx Moderator, Game Developer Modder

    235
    Jun 4, 2013
    Ok I think it's time we bring this back once and for all.
    For a long time I have stabbed at this and with my inexperience on hexadecimal code, I ever, get no results at all or kill the .exe file completely.
    I'm asking people I that experience in this sort of stuff to take a look at this post. But if there are others out there, it may be noticed whilst it remains a more recent post...

    Well... it's not just me that needs this fixing is it?

    For some time now whilst I was away, I pondered about this when my projects came to mind. It really is one giant thorn in my side.
    So, I came back. I looked into the code again. I stabbed. I poked (No honestly, I don't know what I am doing at all) I pretty much found myself back at ground zero with this. These are a few areas that I attempted deleting and typing random bullshxt into;The top window demonstrates an area I find suspicious, reading the text is my only clues here. But again, without knowing what to change I just caused havoc.

    The window below it highlights the "00 FF 00" part. There are loads of these everywhere I know but in hexadecimal colours is'nt green #00 FF 00? But anyway things under this highlighted section mention "<ZAR>" files and it even states "color changed" below them.

    :evil:Even if I see it... Is it even what I'm looking for?!?!? My lack of knowledge angers me.


    One day someone will figure it. Even if we can't remove it we could surely change its colour (sorry, British) and it would work for the green text too.

    HeX? Hmt? Anyone?
    Help.
     
  5. RobertHouse

    RobertHouse Fallout Tactics Moderator Modder

    703
    Jun 9, 2013
    I'm looking into this a little more too.
    I know a little more about HeX editing now then when this was first discussed, I'll post every step of the way!
     
  6. xkcon

    xkcon Transcending the Multiverse Modder

    206
    Apr 2, 2003
    I think you have the right approach by looking for '00 FF 00'. I have some experience Hex editing. when I was in my teens in the 80s I hex edited and created a whole new town for Ultima V, I also hacked wasteland 1 as well. I know times are different now, but the principle is still the same.

    Both windows look like potential places to look. Have you looked for, or identified any potential places that hold the character display/gui datas.

    Also look for a section of code for the windowed speech, as it as well displays a green portrait pic.

    Just thinking now, I know that if you change the color of your windowed speech, then the display text in the text log changes to that color too, It seems logical that the gui green of the pic would be stored the same way the text colors are.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
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  7. xxxRedMetalxxx

    xxxRedMetalxxx Moderator, Game Developer Modder

    235
    Jun 4, 2013
    Well I found a couple of things that evidently point to dialogue text colour;

    In this section I have highlighted an area that goes on to string the colours that are assigned to different things. Underneath the highlight you will also see a similar code to change aspects to yellow. It is the "green" that needs changing. But what to? And what code? I am lost, random attacks at this are becoming quite boring now and always with the same effect.
    I know that when you are creating the locales for items and weapons, text within those entries can be coloured very easily. For example;
    By placing <rgb:255,0,0> in front of a text, all text after it will change to full red.
    This only works for items and everything else that resides within the locale folder, this I know. So I also know the text within the game that I have not been able to colour before. I check these dialogue screens when I tamper with any of these codes. So far I have managed to change nothing other than the game's ability to function. Lol.
    There was another section of code I saw yesterday, can't seem to find it now, but this section clearly stated the use of RGB colours.
     
  8. FUBAR

    FUBAR First time out of the vault

    62
    Feb 8, 2014
    Just a thought... has anyone asked Micro-Forte if they might be willing to release any old files/notes concerning FoT..? I realize what a long shot the idea is, but the information we need is likely stashed away on a hard drive, in a filing cabinet, and we've no chance to get it if nobody says please.
     
  9. TwoEyedYum

    TwoEyedYum Naked Moose

    355
    Jan 21, 2010
    Everything does belong to Bethesda now. And i think that includes any "old files" you (and anyone else here) would like to get. End of story :cry:
     
  10. FUBAR

    FUBAR First time out of the vault

    62
    Feb 8, 2014
    This answer was to be expected. :shrug:The hard way has worked thus far.

    The Hex is... interesting. I've only half a clue what I'm looking at, but I like what I see.

    What have you messed with in that section, Red? Your screenshot above seems a very good place to poke around.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  11. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Nov 26, 2007
    I don't understand the desire to remove the scan lines.

    edit:
    *Is it possible that the scan lines are not understood for what they are meant to be?
    Artifact of a low-res monochromatic terminal screen.

    Wouldn't removing the scan lines instantly make the portraits out of place on the Tactic's UI; as all [real] Fallout games depicted UI that was physical; like electronics found in the game world; and they've always had low-res monochrome terminal screens.

    (No tint and lines, would imply a high-res color screen.)
    Wilma.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  12. FUBAR

    FUBAR First time out of the vault

    62
    Feb 8, 2014
    Personally; I think along the same lines of keeping the portrait styles; it does fit the Fallout theme. Removing the scan lines would be for any mods that take the FoT engine out of the Fallout universe, or really if it just suites the modders' taste.
     
  13. RobertHouse

    RobertHouse Fallout Tactics Moderator Modder

    703
    Jun 9, 2013
    I've been searching through the HeX for about 2 days now and have found nothing that changes the portraits style.

    Under "Extras" in HxD - (HeX editor) there is a tool named "Open RAM..." that might be helpful in finding the values we need...
     
  14. xxxRedMetalxxx

    xxxRedMetalxxx Moderator, Game Developer Modder

    235
    Jun 4, 2013
    @FUBAR and TwoEyedYum;
    I think any 'old files' would probably be lost to the wind by now and when Bethesda took over, yeah they will probably own the rights to the material, but why would they have the files? That's one too many probablys for me. I KNOW that HeX coding is the answer to this. Shame I don't know shxt about HeX...

    @Gizmojunk;
    My desire to remove them is, similar to what FUBAR said. My project is "out of the Fallout universe" and more like a total conversion of very different game style. My UI is totally different from Fallout's original style and any visual screens I use are certainly not "low-res monochrome terminal screens". Your picture example does not give justice to full colour portraits. But then again, all my portraits have been made by myself.
    I know this kind of modding is not for everyone here. I also know I'm not the only one that would like it resolved. I will keep looking into it but the fact remains that we need someone experienced with this matter to hopefully read this and point us in the right direction.

    @RobertHouse
    Thanks for helping out with this, not noticed that yet. I will try it out.
     
  15. nadeauhugo

    nadeauhugo Author of FOT mod THE SUM Modder

    461
    Mar 9, 2014
    He guys, I just come back from a month-long trip to the corner of my province in Canada and I must say I am VERY IMPRESSED with your efforts here! WOW! I am of course with you xxxRedMetalxxx, having the same wish of maximum freedom of action and options to take for FOT modders.

    Some progress can be done using bright pink colors for portraits, changing the green tint in the back for brown, gray or the skin color to normal color, but it is still ugly.

    If the green tint can be completely removed, I want to be one of the first to use full color portraits in my mod (!!), as the technology in mine is really more advanced than our present time technology, so green tint portraits only fits with the idea of dramatically saving on energy use for devices, but this is a very poor reason I think. SOO, continue your fight! I want this solved as much as you do!
     
  16. xxxRedMetalxxx

    xxxRedMetalxxx Moderator, Game Developer Modder

    235
    Jun 4, 2013
    You were one of the people I had in mind when I said "it's not just me that needs this fixing is it?". Screenshots of your mods and your profile picture shows me that you were thinking along the same lines as me. By the way, nice beard! If you had red hair, we could be brothers! LOL!

    I know about all the shabby tricks of the trade when it comes to accenting colours to make them stand out better on the green, but that is not good enough for my project. So far as to say, I WILL NOT create ANY portraits until I have figured this out. This problem has postponed part of my creation process for a VERY long time, before this thread began, before I joined NMA, and It's pxssing me right off!

    A good example of our problem is what Gizmojunk said... The majority of Fallout modders cannot understand why we would want to remove the green lines. This matters very little to me as the vast majority of Fallout modders are creating Fallout style mods and so do not need to have the lines removed. I am not creating a Fallout mod, I am using Tactics as a template for my game.

    I did ask for help and directed experienced HeX'ers to this thread but since they have still not replied and the problem still stands. We are left with my in-ability and random stabbing which is getting us absolutely nowhere...

    I cannot see this ever being solved until the right person takes a look into it.
     
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  17. nadeauhugo

    nadeauhugo Author of FOT mod THE SUM Modder

    461
    Mar 9, 2014
    Hehe! Wish I could be your HEXeditor champion, but I'm stuck at the same level as you, I mean worse, as you did have shown progress in finding an anwser! Hum! Like you said, Tactics is just a post-apocalyptic engine when it's time to create your own project. The fallout universe is very very cool, but as for myself too, I only plan to use FOT engine to create something radically different.

    I used recently a .png file when doing the movement map in my mod. Something like Nananacampaignname_move.png. That .png had to have a specific name to be used and added by the code. So the portraits and green tint may work the same way. Like you said, it should be a transparent PNG (or ZAR) file with a texture that is stored somewhere for frequent uses. It can be stored inside a file cause this is the way bos.cam works. Maybe if we find the filename and the path we can replace it very easily, or the name of the file in which it is. That could even be bos.cam as far as I know, or any other file other than bos.exe...

    Anyways, THE CHALLENGE IS OPENED. We must crack further bos.exe to get an anwser! (and who knows what wonder we'll find in the process?)
     
  18. Vault Maker

    Vault Maker Vault-Tec Cartographer

    149
    Jun 27, 2006
    Long ago I used a hex editor to find where the FOT world map movement rate mask was stored in BOS.cam. I posted a tutorial on it long ago (2007?). It might be helpful. Random thought follow!

    Do the images have a green tint added, or do they have the red and blue channels removed?

    If a tint, though I'm no programmer, I can think of a few ways the green tint might be implemented.
    1. The game could be hardcoded to add that tint over a certain part of the interface. No idea how you would find that.
    2. There might be an image file applied over the relevant part of the interface. The file might be compiled into the exe, or somewhere else I guess. Note that despite general use of the .png (aka .zar) image format, the worldmap movement mask was in bitmap format. You can find info on bitmap format on Wikipedia and elsewhere. That will tip you off about the possible structure of the data you seek. Make sure to also look at a .zar file in a hex editor so you know what those look like.
    2a. If it's a uniform green, you might be looking for a monochrome (1-bit) image file.
    2b. If there's a variety of greens (stripes were mentioned above...never noticed stripes before, but...never looked) then you might be able to guess what the structure of an image file is from that. Maybe add a portrait that is a blank white image and screenshot it from the game interface?

    Note that the movement mask was stored in 24-bit color, but only really needed to be 256 color (8-bit) in grayscale. It also had some odd defects: a few hundred pixels scattered around that were not grayscale. (I studied those for a while, when I should have ignored them.) So even if a monochrome image would work, it might still be stored as 24-bit.

    Another idea:
    * Use FTtools (I think...correct me if wrong) to remove a single portrait. I assume that bos.cam gets changed.
    * Then, open the new and original bos.cam files with a hex editor in separate windows. Scroll down to the 10 MB mark in both files and see if the values are the same.
    * If they are the same, there's no changes from there to the start of the file. If different, the change is earlier.
    * Then go up (or down) 5 MB and check again. Sounds tedious, but after a few minutes, you should have found the exact spot where bos.cam changed.
    * Most likely there will be a bunch of portraits stored there, so you will see a repeating structure, similar to a bitmap or a .zar. If those already have the green added, then the green may have been done by the FTtools program during import.
    * I think you can copy the characters from a .zar within the .cam file, paste into a txt file, saveas a .zar and convert it to png. If so, is it green?
    * Try using the hex editor to copy/paste new .zar codes directly into bos.cam to replace the existing portraits.
     
  19. IAR80

    IAR80 First time out of the vault

    88
    Oct 1, 2006
    Hi all!
    I did some research on this too.
    The engine seems to load and use fine the .png format. I put also png images (without .zar termination, just simple .png) in gui_0.bos archive and loaded very well. So I don't use / convert to zar any of my images, anymore. Its useless.
    Problem is... The green stripes is there. No matter what image you place they will appear. Surely is hard coded in bos.exe.
    Don't ask, I'm not a hex fan editor. I did look on to it but "is matrix" for me. I think the stripes are put on the images when the game starts (write in memory) and are not converted or something like that.
    Regards.
     
  20. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Nov 26, 2007
    I've never looked at the exe, but it is not likely that the image loading routine simply darkens every other pixel; (or number of pixels) when it loads (or displays) portraits?

    It would seem a simple thing to implement, and they would not need an overlay image.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015