Guide To Mods

It has come to my attention lately that some people still have trouble using mods and maps. It is quite hard to find decent instructions these days so I have decided to write a guide to help you along your way in this confusing business.

1. What is a mod?
A mod (modification) is a set of files with various properties changed to produce a different effect in Homeworld than what is usually present. For example you can get mods which change the properties of ships (speed, armor, bullet strength, hyperspacing values etc) or you can get mods which change the models or weapon effects in Homeworld (e.g changing the Ion Cannon into a ship from Star Trek). What is important to note is that Homeworld mods do not overwrite any of Homeworld's files so after uninstalling a mod you do not have to reinstall files from your Homeworld CD.

2. Thats great, but how come nothing is overwritten?
All key Homeworld files are stored in a file called "Homeworld.big" which is basically an archive just like a zip file which Homeworld can read from. If no mod is present, then Homeworld uses the default values from the .big file. If a mod is present then Homeworld bypasses the standard settings and uses the settings specified in the mod's files.

3. OK, what kind of things can I expect from these mods and how big are they?
They once said that Homeworld was unmoddable. Despite this, some very talented people and some crazy fiddling people have managed to do an outstanding job of cannibalising Homeworld. New ships, new weapons, new hit points, hyperspacing effects, music, sound and explosions are possible. Homeworld is limited though; moving animations have been done although they are very difficult to achieve, and Homeworld is well known to be adverse to even the smallest of changes to some files. As for the file sizes, they vary depending on how much of Homeworld is being replaced, however I have never seen one bigger than 15mb's plus another 20mb's for a music file if there is one.

4. Where do i get these mods!?
From the author's website, or if your are reading this then from my site dummy!

5. OK, I have a mod, I understand how it works, but what the hell do I do with it?
If you got the mod from my website then the installation is easy. Simple open the file and set the extraction path as your Homeworld base directory. This is the folder where your Homeworld executable is located.

E.g -
C:\Sierra\Homeworld
D :\Program Files\Sierra\Homeworld
X :\My Games\Sierra\Homeworld

If you can't figure out where your Homeworld program file is then a) you are stupid and b) try right clicking a shortcut you have for Homeworld and looking at the target section under the shortcut's properties.

6. How do I uninstall one of your mods?
Simply remove all files that the mod installed. it is worth making a note of the names of files and folders in your Homeworld directory before you install a mod so you know wnich files shouldn't be deleted when uninstalling your mod. But generally speaking, you remove all ".script" files, ".shp and .lod" files, and "r1", "r2" and "etg" folders. Look at the next question for a more comprehensive list of possible files to remove.

7. The mod isn't from your website how do I install it?
Patience my friend, first you must understand what kind of files and directories you will be dealing with. Most mods have atleast some of the following:

r1 folder - stands for race one (Kushan). If your mod has this folder it means that the mod replaces something on the Kushan side. If you are playing Cataclysm then the folder is named "race_sect" and refers to Kiith Somtaaw.

r2 folder - stands for race two (Taidan). If your mod has this folder it means that the mod replaces something on the Taidan side. If you are playing Cataclysm then the folder is named "race_beast" and refers to the Beast.

etg folder - more complex mods that change weapon effects or require special parameters to run have files in th etg folder.

feman folder - stands for front end manager. This means that some of the Homeworld interface has been changed. For example the buttons in the build manager.

screenshots folder - some mods use their own custom screenshots to display while your skirmish game is loading.

multiplayer folder - some mods provide several maps to go with the mod perhaps to reinact an event from a TV series or simply provide the right atmosphere for the game.

english.script - where the names of all the ships are stored and all the text in the game is kept.

other script files - script files such as tweak.script and researchdepend.script provide further customisation for modders to enhance your gaming experience.

8. Now can you tell me how to install them!?
Sure. Most mods come as .zip files. Open the zip file using your archive program (Winzip, Winrar, Winace, Powerarchiver, Zipmagic etc) and look at the files infront of you. Read the authors Readme file for information about how to install the mod just incase it has specific requirements. If there is no Readme or you didn't understand the Readme then follow this procedure:

1. If you can see some of the files listed in question 7, all you have to do is install into your Homeworld base directory as described in number 5.

2. If you don't see these files, then it is likely that all you see is a single folder infront of you with a name such as Homeworld or Sierra or the name of the mod. Open this folder. You should now see the files. Select all these files and extract them to you Homeworld base directory.

9. I want to make a mod, where do I go to get information / tools?
There are lots of places about but I have forgotten most of them so you'll just have to go to either of these sites I guess.

http://hwmodelling.modfactory.net/

http://www.strategyplanet.com/homeworld/archonx

 

Guide To Maps

1. What is a map?
A map is the playing space you have in Homeworld. It is the arena you battle in. Maps determine the backdrop of the scenery, the amount of resources and resources ditribution, player starting points,and any debris on the map (such as autoguns or blown up ships).

2. Why do I need maps?
Custom maps provide a fresh skirmish experience for Homeworld players who are experienced in all the maps that come with Homeworld. Also, if you intend on playing online, the maps are useful as you don't have to download them from the user running the game so your games start faster and everyone is happy.

3. OK, how big are these maps?
One map is usually no more than 50kb's . A large colleciton of them is no more than 2mb's.

4. Where can I get some maps?
If you play online a lot, you will no doubt download some custom maps from other players, which means that you don't have to worry about installing them. Alternatively you can download one big pack of them from this site.

5. What's their file structure?
Say for example you have downloaded the map "my map.zip" which is a 2-4 player map. You have a multiplayer folder in your Homeworld base directory. When a map is extracted there, you have a folder or several folders. For my map.zip, it is likely that you will have 4 folders: "mymap1, mymap2, mymap3 and mymap4" as it is a four player map. Inside these folders there is a collection of files but generally all maps have the following:

description.txt
various .dist files
various .missphere files
.level file

6. OK, I have a map, how do I install it?
If it is my map pack, simple install into your Homeworld base directory where the Homeworld executable is located. In other words do not extract them to the multiplayer directory. If however you have aquired a map from a different source such as the Homeworld Map Archive, open the .zip file and extract the map into your Multiplayer folder in your Homerworld directory.

7. How do I uninstall all the maps?
Simply delete all the folders in your Multiplayer directory. Remember this will not delete the ones that come with Homeworld as they are stored in the homeworld.big file.

8. I want to learn how to make a map, where do I start?

There are some brilliant tutorials on how to make maps, so try some of these sites:

http://www.strategyplanet.com/homeworld/mma/ - and go to the primers section.

http://www.strategyplanet.com/hwmaps/ - and go to the editing section.