Now I know your probley asking one of two questions, okay how, and who the hell are you? First my name is Quickshot14 i am an avid modder and gamer and a huge might and magic fan, i've played all might and magics starting from 2 to 9. Also most all heros of might and magic even ubisofts new might and magics. For you mm6-8 fans, i've played and finshed, mm6 and mm7 and i have finshed world of xeen (mm4&5) countless times as well. (in its orignal 3.5 format, to first cd format to last format and even tocuhed swords of xeen a bit) so i've been around.
Like all of you, I was very very let down with might and magic 9 and like all of you i pretty much was upset that 3do and NWC died. And thou I enjoy a lot of rpgs like morrwind and oblivion, I love might and magic, because of its old school rpg flavor, and most important the party aspect of the game. Theres nothing i love more then getting make my own party and name it my family and freinds. Just makes it more fun and thats the thing i think of for might and magic, its more about your acutal party stats and skills then just there euipment,
But on to the main event, so love or hate or indiffrent to might and magic ix, theres a huge modding potentional that pretty much everyone doesnt know about. First i bought mm9 when it first came out and even dled the orignal patch, as anyone knows the game is still very buggy with this patch and in most cases totaly unplayable (particlaury conversionations and the promotions) I got fairly far in my orignal playthrough till I hit one of thoese moments and i just put it on the shelf, never to htink of again. I did try to bring it down once but there was a major nvida or some sort of driver issue that didnt make the game run. I put it back on the shelf expecting never to really play it again witch is a shame, its not the best mm ever but it wasnt the worst (thats crusaders of mm period lol)
So here i am sooooo many years latter and i happen upon RPGenies youtube page, for thoese who dont know RPGenie has been playing all the might and magics and puting full length parts of the gameplay up for all to see its really quite neat, then I saw he was playing 9 so i figured i'd give it a check cause I was wondering how. As i'm watching the first video after the very lame intro cinmatic, hes showing a version 1.3 in his might and magic and talking about an unoffical patch. Now I knew and know the modding scene is a buzz for mm but its been strickly 6-8 and nothing for nine. So I did a search and found TELPS 1.3 un-offical patch, what this does is fixes a lot of bugs in the game to at least make it totaly playable (all thoese conversation bugs and esppicaly promotion ones are totaly fixed theres still other bugs and of course fallign through the world is always a rare possiblty) so I picked it up reall small easy to install and played.
I got more curious as they were planing on a 1.4 to acutally add mroe fixes and such to the gameplay and everything so I looked into it. Apprenlty its been prety much delayed but I got info on how to get some tools to mod MM9. Again bear with me, for thoese who dont know MM9 was built/runs on a version of the Lithtech engine. Used for various games (system shock 2, no one lives forever, alien vs preadator 2 etc) the link to the tools is for no one lives forveer tool uttiles that was released. Obviously none were relased for might and magic 9 becuase 3do and NWC went by by.
But intrestingly enough, no ones lives forever lilthtech engine is about the same as might and magic 9's. The tools include pretty much everything you need to mod, some tutorials, model program import/exports, a model editor/viewer, a map/world editor viewer and so on. The most important thing is the rez tool. For thoese who do not know all game files are storted in a rez file format, witch is a type of compresed format, this tools allows the user to export and import and create new rez files easily (its a cmd prompt tool)
So with these tools we can export everything out of the might and magic 9 rez files, sounds, voices, scripts, levels, textures, sprites, models, skins, ui etc. you will find all these files are pretty easy and usable to edit, for example all voice files are waves all sound files are waves, all textures are dtx's all sprites are spr files, all skins are dtxs and so on. The most important parts here, the scripts and data information are all uncompolied easy to read and editable. All scripts are in pure format heres a code snipet for exmaple from one of the files (BANKORB.INC)
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; handles Fiachna A'Lanth for the Orb of Linking
; edited by Bones 6/12/02
; TELP Patch 1.3 -- prevents Fiachna from taking extra orbs
; (except for one extra at quest completion)
; flag variables
#number Visible = 1
#number Solid = 8192
#number Gravity = 131072
;p0 the key to CheckFor when player placed the orb
haskey 330 g_ntemp
haskey nKey g_ntemp
Playsound sounds\events\quest.wav, DoNothing, 100, 24000, FALSE, 100
As you can see its pretty lua/c based in format. The script files come in two types, .inc and .scr these are obvious to anyone whos done most scripting, .inc are include files and .scr are source files. ALL of these and i mean all are uncompressed and editable!! This includes and probley isnt limted to, the ai functionlay, conversations, quests, traps, doors, factions etc. anything thats scripted is here ready to play with. The reason these files are so open is because NWC left them that way. Acording to what I read and understand, since NWC was pressed by 3do for time to get this out in order to try and make a profit to stay afloat, they lost an extra 2-3 months of 12 hour working days on the game. So of course a lot was left unfished, slopply thrown togetehr and so on, but they left pretty much everything, ESPPICALy these script files totaly open so they could easly patch and make changes/fixes and so on latter on (like they did for 1.2 just before 3do went bankrupt)
Now modders if that alone dosnt wet your appiatate theres even more, but just to wrap you head around what this means let me put it this way, were looking a good code changes for a lot of diffrent things, not just bug fixing, but the possiblites are big and small. A small example would be the adjustment of hireable npcs in the game, making them not only more cost worthy but usable, to large, adding a new quest line or even new ai for example. So now lets move on to the next important part that is also script related but is not pure script and is simple just noted as DATA. I'm happy to say this is fully editable and has even more potetional in conjuction with scritping. most of these data files if there not a script is all pretty much in a table or CSV format.
A simple example is the .rude files. These files despiste there funny name deal with npcs conversations, there all in a table or CSV format. Heres an example of one of the files. (NPC4.RUDE) (this is displayed in its pure format from notepad)
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4,2,1,"We have one of those.","Somewhere on the Isle of Ashes, inside the ruins of Verhoffin's Tower is his diary. We are very interested in what the diary might contain regarding what he did. Retrieve this for us, and you shall become Mages.",13,205,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
4,5,1,"Sorry to bother you.","You are not sorry, but certainly bothersome. Good day.",999,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
4,4,1,"We wish to become Mages.","Our tasks are reserved for those Scholars who would become Mages.",2,205,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,2082,0,0,0,0,4,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
4,3,1,"We will take this quest.","Then do not dally. Good luck.",997,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,4,0,0,0,0,285,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
4,20,1,"We found a silver one.","Oh my! This is terribly interesting. We better get to work on this right away!",4,281,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,286,0,0,0,0,286,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
4,13,1,"You want us to get it for you?","Yes. There are some reports that it may not be in the Verhoffin Ruins at all, and that it is actually in Drangheim. Wherever it is, find it and bring it here.",3,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
4,2,2,"We don't have one of those, but perhaps we could work for you.","Our tasks are reserved for Scholars only.",5,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
Most other files are like this as well, for example there are simple .TXT files that are CSV format that contain things such as AISPAWN, MASTERITEMLIST, MONSTERS, SPELLS, PCVOICES, WEAPONS and much more. And if that isnt enough for you lets move on the acutal interface now.
All interface art files are .PCX format, And animations for such as the loading screen or just button highlighting seem to be controeld by simple text files. For example, The boat for the loading screen, is contained in the ART/LOADSCREEN directory, there is 3 files, 2 pcx's and 1 txt file. The pcx fles are of the boat going left and back right and the txt file seems to be a controler for it. Loading
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All ya gotta do is make the little boat move right and left in
the space provided. Use the "Right" boat when moving right and the
"Left" boad when moving left.
Boat Space 298x 346y 209x36
Obviously i'm not 100% sure but thats some intresting stuff.
So far so good right, you can feel the possiblites in your head but theres still a couple major points we havnt addresed, models obviousl and the most important levels(or worlds as lithtech likes to call them)
So first the models seem totlay open and changeable/editiable, as i said the tools come with some exporters (for some olders 3d programes but its there) these shoudl owrk fine and theres an entire viewer/editor of some sort, i havnt played around with this that much yet.
So this brings us to the levels/worlds. And this is where things seem to hit a bit of a hurdle, so let me explain this throughlty. There are two file formats for level/world files. Theres a .ED file, witch is an uncomplied editor read version of the world/level, this allows the included edtior tool to open and view the world/level and is fully editable. From there it gets complied using another included tool (called processor.exe) into a .DAT file, this is much larger and is used specfilty for running in the game engine/playtime.
So whats the problem here? All .DAT files are included and intact, but only a handfull of .ED files are included, and unforuntly none of them are major outdoor/city areas. There are still some .ED files of note here, particlary the 1000TERRORS and CHASMOFTHEDEAD levels/worlds are of particualr note, also included are the ANSKRAMKEEP, ARSLEGARDCITY, BATHHOUSE, BEETHOVEN and BOOTCAMP(witch i belive is the first starting island) are all included and fully editable with the editor tool. So theres plenty there to play with and learn from. BUT the major issue here, for at leats thoese looking to learn/do/change major world/level areas we dont have the orignal .ED format to edit and all my attempts to look for anyway to convert a complied .DAT level back to .ED has been in vain.
So this is probley the only major obvious hurdle right now that I can see for might and magic 9 editing, and it can only really be resovled one of three ways. The first and most obvious and hard way is just remaking these level from scratch, witch i see no reason it couldnt be done...it would of course be very hard since a lot of the refrences and such needed would have to been doen and its deifnlty the most time consuming.
The second and third and the biggest possiblity I belive with this mm modding community, one of two 3rd party programs. The first being a compiled map editor of some sort, in other words a way to edit/add spawn points and things of that nature. The other witch i think is the best soultion and should be able to do with the resources we have is a decompiler from a compiled .dat map back to a .ed format. These 3 seem like the most obvious solution to this problem. Beside this there is still huge possiblites, brand new worlds/levels should be and i belive are totaly possible!
So this is all the extent that I know so far, I have been draging myself all over the net the last 24 hours looking for more info but there isnt much if any, and it seems like all our major modders here didnt even have a clue (like me) that mm9 was even editable let a lone a lot easier the any of mm6-8 and if you need one final reason for modding mm9, i dont see any reason wht a tc of mm6 or 7 or 8 into 9 couldnt be at least a very good possiblity???!!! And if anything we can make the game better, hell the TELP patch alone as deifnlty made the game at least funner.
So this is my plea and information to you the MM community and modding community a like, BDJ, mastero, and everyone whos up, take a look at this seriously for yourself, i will continue my investagations as I can, i'm a bit limted since I dont have some software installed (i guess its baout time i reinstalled photoshop already) and i'm not very profecitnt and this is definlty no a one person job. I know if we all poke our heads into it we will see just how deep the rabit hole goes and we already have a porven working and knowing mod with the TELP 1.3 patch. It works, it runs, it simple, no exe hacking needed no changes to the exe and it dosnt even break older game saves (read up on it for more) so lets all check it out.
I thank you for taking the time to read all this and i hope your as excited about the potentional here as I am getting, i know it would be a lot of fun, and yes the engine isnt the greatest but netheir is mm6-8 as well. So please take a look.
Here are the links:
To the No One Lives Forever Tools to use: CLICK HERE
To the TELPs 1.3 Patch page: CLICK HERE
To the TELPs forum with some refrences of the info i found: CLICK HERE
To RPGenie's Youtube page for mm9 gameplay w/ 1.3 patch): CLICK HERE
To My Blogs Youtube page (also w/ mm9 gaemplay w/ 1.3 patch): CLICK HERE
comments questions etc please ask. Thanks.