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Modding Alpha Protocol


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#1
MarteenDee

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I've decided to open this thread as I see huge potential in modding AP - maybe not to the extent of total overhaul, but IMHO altering some files might help fixing some minor issues, or even help dev team in creation of patch. In unlikely situation Obsidian wouldn't release any patch it might be the way to create community patch and help all those troubled souls who are whining about "unfinished" game. Personally I haven't noticed any major issues or things we mightn't be able to fix through careful tweaking.

If any of forum moderators think that this thread belongs to PC tech part of the forum - please move it.

If this thread will be interesting enough please make it sticky.

To all posters: please refrain from spamming, irrelevant comments and regular trolling - I would like to keep this thread clean and easy to read. I would also ask people who don't have a clue about modding games not to post their silly questions. If myself or anyone involved draw any final conclusions there will be step-by-step guide for dummies how to make all the changes with proper explanation. For now it's more experimental and reverse engineering theories. Please keep this thread as "scientific" as possible - if you have some theory or opinion give us a hint of proof and a way to reproduce your effects.

First post is a merged version of two posts I wrote earlier in another thread. I'll come with more later, when I'll gather all what I know so far.

Hopefully the developers will eventually notice this thread and give us some hints or answers to our questions...

Introduction:

Unreal engine is highly moddable, even without tools exclusive for Alpha Protocol. Tools for modding Unreal engine are already common enough. What is even more pleasing - all settings for ie. AI perception range, weapons stats, character development, visual presentation or controls are in config files - easily editable through notepad or other common text editor. I had quick look through config files and made some changes already and I've changed so far: controls responsiveness, resources allocation (no more stuttering or textures popping) moving speed of both Mike and AI (which basically means - no sliding and synchronised walking and running animation when compared to movement speed), more aware AI (both sound and visual perception), more realistic damage system (on basic endurance - one shot one kill when you get spotted), tweaked guns spread and recoil, and I've opened texture packs to some extent.

Hint for all people experiencing stuttering - first and foremost defrag your HD, and use all tweaks posted for ME and ME2 in the same subject as they all work.

To all interested - I will release all ini files and changes only when I'll be sure that none of my changes cause any glitches or errors throughout the game.

To the point:

1.Files structure.

I have retail DVD version bought in UK, WindowsXP SP3, all drivers up to date and all XP updates done to my OS.

Here's the structure I think is used:
In your game installation directory, everything in APGame is what's game using. The rest is more-less irrelevant for modding.
In CookedPC directory you have all packs and resources like sounds, textures, maps and missions. Localization directory is pretty self explainable.
Movies: if you go to that directory and change extension of slate_ap.sfd, slate_obsidian.sfd, slate_sega.sfd - your game will load straight to the main menu without opening cinematic. This way you can easily remove any cinematic in game.

For basic tweaks the most important directory is Config. These are the DEFAULT values for anything game related which is tweakable. If you remove all config files from MyDocuments/Alpha Protocol/Config and start the game again - it's going to create new configs from default files in game directory. I'm pretty sure that some settings *might* be saved in profile files but I'm not sure which elements are saved and which are directly read from ini files in MyDocuments. To be 100% sure if some value is or isn't used by the game it might be good to change values in game dir ini files, wipe configs from MyDocuments and start the game from the beginning. For now - there's only good few values that I'm sure are read straight from MyDocuments/Alpha Protocol/Config/xxx.ini files. Eyes colour and skin tone would be the best example as they're most noticeable.

I'll post more later as I need to check what values I was changing and which were having any direct impact on the game.

In the meantime take a look through MyDocuments/Alpha Protocol/Config/xxxxx.ini files. Some values are pretty self explanatory. Anything in sections [xxxx:APxxxxxx] is directly related and we can be sure that it's used by the game. You can also notice, that some ini files are cross referenced and in some other sections you have references to CookedPC packs.
There are sections without any AP reference - they might or mightn't be used - here's where trial and error comes to play.

#2
john1231

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Hi, cool thing youre on this -
my question:
where you able to unpack for instance the model files? (as you said you modified some textures - or was it with texmod?)
and if so, would it be possible to exchange them by renaming? for instance to play as some NPC instead of the PC? (is possible in just cause2 or thewitcher) - or even add/modify models.. anyway, ive never seen an unreal engine game capable of it (except unreal tournament)
- indeed all the unreal engine games (but UT3) havent been really modded at all. the best thing ive seen were some retextures (arkham asylum - and rainbow6vegas)

#3
Spydude

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It would be nice to be able to tweak the AI a bit. I look forward to your results. Please say that awful skybox can be replaced. This game has the worst skybox since Doom 2.


I noticed the perks are easily editable.

Edited by Spydude, 08 June 2010 - 02:08 PM.


#4
Orogun01

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It would be nice to be able to tweak the AI a bit. I look forward to your results. Please say that awful skybox can be replaced. This game has the worst skybox since Doom 2.

Not likely without added textures.

Question for everyone out there, does anyone knows what the +seekfreepackage lines are for?. They are in the Defaultengine.ini

Edited by Orogun01, 08 June 2010 - 02:10 PM.


#5
MarteenDee

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Hi, cool thing youre on this -
my question:
where you able to unpack for instance the model files? (as you said you modified some textures - or was it with texmod?)
and if so, would it be possible to exchange them by renaming? for instance to play as some NPC instead of the PC? (is possible in just cause2 or thewitcher) - or even add/modify models.. anyway, ive never seen an unreal engine game capable of it (except unreal tournament)
- indeed all the unreal engine games (but UT3) havent been really modded at all. the best thing ive seen were some retextures (arkham asylum - and rainbow6vegas)


You can check this by yourself by using this tool:

Gildor's Unreal Model Viewer

Thanks to Gildor we can make high res textures. :p

#6
Orogun01

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Found these on another site, haven't tested.

Go to APEngine.ini (My Documents --> Alpha Protocol), make sure read only is unchecked in the file's properties. Makes these changes:

[System Settings]
Trilinear=True(This is originally set to False.)
MaxAnisotropy=16(This is originally set to 4. You can set this to 4, 8, or 16 depending on how powerful your system is.)
EnableHighPolyChars=True(This is originally set to False.)
MinShadowResolution=32(32 is the absolute minimum resolution. You can set this higher, like 512, but this can affect the performance greatly and can also cause shadows to start gltiching.)
MaxShadowResolution=4096(This can be set lower if you system does not have a powerful graphics card. Remember to set it in normal resolution numbers like 1024, 2048, etc. 4096 is the highest this can be set.)
bEnableBranchingPCFShadows=True(This is originally set to False.)
bEnableForegroundShadowsOnWorld=True(This is originally set to False.)

Save, close the file, then make it read-only again.



#7
irakmata

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Change these valors in APGame.ini (My Documents)

InteractDistance=250
CoverWalkSpeed=75.f
CoverRunSpeed=125.f
PlayerRotationSpeed=80000.0f
MoveSpeedNormal=240
MoveSpeedScoped=80
SprintSpeed=320

This should improve the animations and player speed. ;-)

#8
MarteenDee

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It would be nice to be able to tweak the AI a bit. I look forward to your results. Please say that awful skybox can be replaced. This game has the worst skybox since Doom 2.


Not likely without added textures.

Question for everyone out there, does anyone knows what the +seekfreepackage lines are for?. They are in the Defaultengine.ini


As I understand it's reference for files caching and streaming. My advice - don't mess with defaultXXXXX.ini files unless you know exactly what you're doing.

As to your post above - they do work to some extent, especially shadows settings. Not that huge impact on visual quality though.

I'm going to try decompile AP files with Unreal Development Kit and will post results later this week... If we can use UDK for AP - well... we might be able to alter whatever we want and even create new maps and missions.

Can someone explain to the devs that the game we can mod are the game with unlimited lifespan? :p

Confirmed revelations above about moving speeds.

Edited by MarteenDee, 08 June 2010 - 02:55 PM.


#9
john1231

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You can check this by yourself by using this tool:

Gildor's Unreal Model Viewer

Thanks to Gildor we can make high res textures. :p

thanks for the info - but with it im only able to extract stuff - but how to load it up ingame?
does the game use some sort of override folders - or do i have to repackage stuff?

#10
Orogun01

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More tweaks I've found on the internet.

Mouse tweaks.
set bEnableMouseSmoothing=False
in \Alpha Protocol\APGame\Config\DefaultInput.ini

Two places here.
\My Documents\Alpha Protocol\APGame\Config\APInput.ini

Also set in \My Documents\Alpha Protocol\APGame\Config\APEngine.ini
the following:

[Engine.GameEngine]
bSmoothFrameRate=FALSE
MinSmoothedFrameRate=30
MaxSmoothedFrameRate=60

[SystemSettings]
UseVsync=False

In APEngine.ini (C:\Users\username\Documents\Alpha Protocol\APGame\Config), change the following settings:

UseBackgroundLevelStreaming=false
OnlyStreamInTextures=true
OneFrameThreadLag=False



#11
PastramiX

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I've already tried loading and importing .upks from Alpha Protocol in UDK. Unfortuantely, it makes the program crash. :(

Then again, maybe I'm doing it wrong. >_<

#12
player1

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There are multiple ini files in game documents folder. Some of them are used for game constants.

APWeaponStats.ini includes weapon stats, APDamageTypesData.ini ammo stats, APLevelChart.ini leveling info, etc...

#13
zkylon

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Change these valors in APGame.ini (My Documents)

InteractDistance=250
CoverWalkSpeed=75.f
CoverRunSpeed=125.f
PlayerRotationSpeed=80000.0f
MoveSpeedNormal=240
MoveSpeedScoped=80
SprintSpeed=320

This should improve the animations and player speed. ;-)

This actually works quite well, but Mike feels really slow now...

#14
WILL THE ALMIGHTY

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Change these valors in APGame.ini (My Documents)

InteractDistance=250
CoverWalkSpeed=75.f
CoverRunSpeed=125.f
PlayerRotationSpeed=80000.0f
MoveSpeedNormal=240
MoveSpeedScoped=80
SprintSpeed=320

This should improve the animations and player speed. ;-)

This actually works quite well, but Mike feels really slow now...

What does it do? Magically add in more animation blending?

All I want is to be able to tweak some particle effects and maybe switch some models around. Can't be too hard.

#15
zkylon

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What does it do? Magically add in more animation blending?

All I want is to be able to tweak some particle effects and maybe switch some models around. Can't be too hard.

Yes, it pretty much fixes the transition from "standing" to "running" animations. It also makes walking while on cover not feel like Sonic The Hedgehog. I'm keeping it for now.

Haven't noticed much graphical improvement or framerate downfalls from the graphics settings Orogun01 posted.

#16
poetic obsidian

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Can't be too hard.


Famous last words.

#17
pmp10

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Did anyone check the contents of Dialogues folder?
RS and RP files seem to contain good amount of content that never showed up in any of my playthroughs.
It also seems that there were ment to be 3 optional missons in various locations (the first one - O1 seems to be mostly completed).
Can any of this be actualy encountered and I'm just being paranoid or do we need a 'Gizka Strikes Back' team to do another restoration project? :p

#18
irakmata

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Change these valors in APGame.ini (My Documents)

InteractDistance=250
CoverWalkSpeed=75.f
CoverRunSpeed=125.f
PlayerRotationSpeed=80000.0f
MoveSpeedNormal=240
MoveSpeedScoped=80
SprintSpeed=320

This should improve the animations and player speed. ;-)

This actually works quite well, but Mike feels really slow now...

What does it do? Magically add in more animation blending?

All I want is to be able to tweak some particle effects and maybe switch some models around. Can't be too hard.


Not magically, but improves the absurd speed animation, especially in the direction changes of character. It just a little tweak but necessary :D Mike now seems slow because you're used to see him move at the speed of light ;)

#19
MarteenDee

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What does it do? Magically add in more animation blending?

All I want is to be able to tweak some particle effects and maybe switch some models around. Can't be too hard.

Yes, it pretty much fixes the transition from "standing" to "running" animations. It also makes walking while on cover not feel like Sonic The Hedgehog. I'm keeping it for now.

Haven't noticed much graphical improvement or framerate downfalls from the graphics settings Orogun01 posted.


Well - talking about Mike's animations and walking speed - try different values to have him walking/running/sprinting fast enough for your taste but still slower than default. It will synchronize animation with speed at some stage - there is a sweet point somewhere.

[Engine.GameEngine]
bSmoothFrameRate=FALSE <-----if you set this value to false you don't need to alter values below, this is turning off
MinSmoothedFrameRate=30 smoothing altogether and below values aren't used
MaxSmoothedFrameRate=60

[SystemSettings]
UseVsync=False <-----depends on the system, I have Vsync = True and no problems...

I'll post all my changes later today, you can test some of those and see if they're working.

@PastramiX
Use Gildor's utility for opening .upk files. Alpha Protocol uses modified Unreal engine what also means that packs are "protected" from opening in UDK. Don't know if that prevents AP from reading non-protected upk, though.

We really need someone from developing team to give us few hints about it but I imagine it can be done by setting +seekfreepackage directory in ini file as in other Unreal based titles.

#20
MarteenDee

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Sorry for double post.

Here's first part of my changes in [b]MyDocuments/Alpha Protocol/APGame/Config/APEngine.ini

APEngine.ini

bAllowMatureLanguage=True

MaxPixelShaderAdditiveComplexityCount=600
MaxPixelShaderOpaqueComplexityCount=300
MaxVertexShaderComplexityCount=300
TimeBetweenPurgingPendingKillObjects=120

bEnableVSMShadows=TRUE
bEnableBranchingPCFShadows=TRUE

bDisablePhysXHardwareSupport=False

bSmoothFrameRate=FALSE
MinSmoothedFrameRate=0
MaxSmoothedFrameRate=85

MaxStaleCacheSize=512
MaxOverallCacheSize=1024

MinDesiredFrameRate=0.000000

ParanoidDeviceLostChecking=0
AllowJoystickInput=0

PoolSize=1024
StopStreamingLimit=24
MinFudgeFactor=0.5
UseTextureFileCache=TRUE

CompositeDynamicLights=False
FilteredDistortion=True
OnlyStreamInTextures=True
Trilinear=True
OneFrameThreadLag=False
EnableHighPolyChars=True

ShadowFilterQualityBias=4
MaxAnisotropy=16
MaxMultisamples=8

MinShadowResolution=32
MaxShadowResolution=2048
FoliageDrawRadiusMultiplier=8.000000

ShadowTexelsPerPixel=4.000000
bEnableVSMShadows=True
bEnableBranchingPCFShadows=True

bEnableForegroundShadowsOnWorld=True
ShadowFilterRadius=4.000000

DebrisLifetime=120.0

DisableShadowVolumes=False
DisableHWShadowMaps=False
ShadowBufferResolution=2048
MaxShadowResolution=2048
MinShadowResolution=32





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