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Topic Subject: RoN Modding to a whole new level! Managed to Decompress scenario files for heximal editing!
posted 03-12-14 02:06 PM EDT (US)   
Hi ppls!

I'm Taichi_San aka Alexandra from Age of Kings heaven and want to share some nice discovery with of you which will indicate a new age of modding!!

You probably think what she's talking about, so let me come to the point:
Recently I figured RoN has many similar aspects of age of empires 2 & age of mythology.
For newbie modders under us: Heximal editing is a raw editing mode by viewing the digital contents of the file in somesort of electronic alphabet of 256 different characters and numbers go not from 0-9 but from 0-9, A-F making it a heximal numbering.

When you normally open a scenario file of RoN you see that it has it's contents compressed, so you can never make custom edits to scenarios, so your limited to what the in-game editor can do.
Now, that I unlocked manual editing, you can edit the landscape in much more detail, change hidden settings etc and much more, but this all has to be discovered!

Peoples might have probably tried to decompress the scenarios before, but they were unsuccessful.
This is the trick the Header of each scenario is UNCOMPRESSED and the header are the 10 first bytes of a scenario file.
When you remove these 10 bytes and save them separately in a new file because you will need to place them back later on.
When the 10 first bytes are removed, you can decompress the data and edit it!
to save changes you must recompress the file and put the 10 byte header back into the file and load the scenario in RoN.

Right now im trying to discover the structure of scenario files and found the data part that edits the terrain's elevation. I erased all data to 0 and made a flat map
No, not regular *flat* lol, whatever you do, the landscape always got hills when you generate it, now I made it totally flat (see image and tooltip info in-game)

So I guess this is a never done before manual edit
Im sorry to say that I'm not a programmer, but im really sure people would like to make a new scenario editor that can edit the terrain in much more detail than ever (sorry but in my opinion the terrain tools are very limited ingame)
Probably also more stats can be edited of buildings, units and resources without altering the game itself!

Im now busy on some map size experiments as the current map size limit is 400x400 (bighuge)

stay tuned
posted 03-12-14 10:35 PM EDT (US)     1 / 8  
That's an amazing discovery, well done! It will be very interesting to see what else can be done with this. Unfortunately I don't know anything about decompressing and heximal editing, though I suppose it's something I could learn.

Also, good luck with increasing the map size!

~ Creator of Kings and Conquerors, a total conversion mod for Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots ~
posted 03-13-14 08:04 AM EDT (US)     2 / 8  
Im working on the size atm seems theres an header telling the size of the map section, but it always seems map dimension A x map dimension B x2 and then +8 bytes

So im now going to count out the amount of tiles Ill need as each tile seems to occupy 2 bytes

Seem to be stuck on increasing mapsize for now, but I figured out the terrain elevation sector abit more and seems each terrain tile as a height value in 32-bit floats, this is very impressive as this means you can make very detailed elevations in-game and there seem to be no height limits I know of

To make things even easier! rise of nations scenario files are actually gzip archives!
so nomore special tools needed, IZArc is some tool I use now to edit the scenarios with now, but im trying to see if I can find a store file mode so it doesnt need to be decompressed anymore

[This message has been edited by Taichi San (edited 03-13-2014 @ 03:09 PM).]

posted 03-14-14 06:12 AM EDT (US)     3 / 8  
LMAO! gl!

all this is long time known..

all the replays and scenarios are saved as zip (not regular zip tho, you can rename extension into .zip and unpack it with winzip but not viceversa)... also data.. 2bit big endian
(or 4 bit, i forgot honestly was long time ago)..

i made programs that can read/modify scenario/replay files.. and they are heavily used on my RON site

check here
there are replays

and scenarios

also i was writing some minor crap here =>

also basic info of scenario from scen file you can get/modify on following bits

"gamestyle" => 224,
"game_rules" => 228,
"extra_options" => 244,
"start_age" => 252,
"ending_age" => 256,
"reveal_map" => 260,
"elimination" => 264,
"peace_rules" => 292,
"pop_limit" => 396,
"players" => 406)

for other stuff you need calculate bits pragmatically.. but those are always same

anyway im too lazy to talk about this bc you cant do much either, if you modify anything that would change filesize length youd have to recalculate every bit that define lenght of block... bla bla bla bla... im to lazy to write crap in english

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

Rise Of Nation Thrones And Patriots "Official" Site / Online patch
posted 03-15-14 05:41 PM EDT (US)     4 / 8  
Hi Taichi San, this sounds really interesting though I don't know much about programming either.

People have commented on the limitations in modding Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends. You can read here for wishes for better modding if the games ever get re-released with more features.

Also Motter who has made a Ron scenario here and Rol mods here has some comments on modding. You can read his informative comments about modding Rol here - he mentioned trying to decipher it all in hex which is a problem since he's not a programmer but self taught and has done a great job so far with his mods. He's taking a break from modding but I wonder if he would have anything to add to your post and if the 2 games have similar problems.

While Rise of Legends is a fantasy game, if the modding can be further unlocked there also then it will be possible for people who only like Ron to do a "total conversion Ron 2" mod in Rol since it seems these games may never get sequels and Rol's 3d graphics are still good.

As of now we wait for news from the buyer of the game rights to see what they will do with the games - hopefully they will look into posts such as yours.

Looking forward to more info If this turns into a good project then cross-posting to the Ron Moddb pages here and here may be a good idea to get the info out.
posted 03-16-14 02:21 AM EDT (US)     5 / 8  
making mods tru editing hex. LOOOOL!! ok...

do any of you has any idea how binary files work?

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

Rise Of Nation Thrones And Patriots "Official" Site / Online patch
posted 09-07-14 03:24 PM EDT (US)     6 / 8  
Could you expand on this? I would love to be able to flatten out a map for my scenario (or at least level-it out to avoid the unsightly "hills" and dips that form).

A quick step-by-step for how to do this would be greatly appreciated.

posted 09-10-14 08:34 PM EDT (US)     7 / 8  
Taichi San,

Please dont mind some of the people down below with their rudeness, if you find out how to change the size of buildings, I would appreciate it.
posted 02-25-15 06:26 PM EDT (US)     8 / 8  
I am still interested bump
Rise of Nations Heaven » Forums » Game Modifications » RoN Modding to a whole new level! Managed to Decompress scenario files for heximal editing!
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