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Everybody picks his or her IMP-merc to suit their taste. Many people, however, would like to have more that one custom merc, but IMP only lets you go through the registration process once. Thats what this guide is for. Ill take you step-by-step through the process of creating a new merc.
With a little work its possible to have as many
custom mercs as you want. For this to work you have to replace AIM and
If you come across some term you dont understand, just read on through the whole guide, most likely its explained somewhere.
The process is relatively simple: think up a new merc
(statistics, face, voice, biography) and replace an existing merc with
this new merc by editing the various files associated with this merc.
First off: youll have to understand that in JA2
and JA2:UB all mercs are referred by the game internally by use of numbers.
Each merc has his own number. To find the number of the merc to use you
have to look them up in ProEdit.
- JA2GDE by GLass (available from Freelancer)
Files needed (all files are in the C:\JA2\data\
folder if you choose the maximum install, if you choose another installation
option some files still are on the cd):
Copy all the nessecary files and programs to the following folder: C:\JA2\Custom. You may also keep the tools and files in their original folder, but having them all in one place is the easiest way, especially if youre unfamiliar with DOS commands.
|Picking a face|
|To pick a face, take a look at the available faces. Use STIview to open the 'Faces.slf' file. Brows to the faces until you've found a face you like to use. The face should be usable as a hireable merc (see 'Step 2. Face files'). For now, just pick one of the AIM/MERC/IMP/RPC faces you remember from the game.|
|Step 1. Creating the folder structure needed|
|Create the following subfolders
in your C:\JA2\Data folder:
- Faces\33FACE (subfolder of Faces)
- Faces\65FACE (subfolder of Faces)
- Faces\Bigfaces (subfolder of Faces)
|Step 2. Face files|
Face files are divided into several groups. RPCs,
AIM, MERC and IMP mercs have 4 face-files.
Use STIview and open the 11.sti file (Domino's
face). Under the options menu, select the All pages in one
option. Youll notice the complete sti-file contains multiple bmp-files,
like a zip-file. The first picture is the complete face; the next 7 pictures
are used for the in-game animations (blinking eyes, speaking etc.), 4
for the eye-movements, and 3 for the mouth. Save the file as C:\JA2\custom\domino.bmp.
Ypu may have to uncheck 'Transparent' in the Options menu for the face
to display correct.
Note: face-files dont all have the 0 in front of them, so Red isnt 011, he is 11. The 0 is only used in mercs who a 1-digit number (for instance Barry is 01).
|Step 3. Voice files|
For the voice files the same rules apply for them to be usable as a custom as for faces. This means not all voices in the game are usable. For example NPCs dont have comment for an encounter with enemies. They only have voice-files for a few standard responses. Theyre therefore not suitable for use as custom voices. For custom voices to be suitable theyll have to have voice-files in Speech.slf and BattleSNDS.slf. RPCs, AIM, MERC and IMP mercs all have most of the necessary faces.
All voice files are named xxx_yyyy.wav. In this xxx
is the merc number, yyy is the filename.
To extract the voice-files from Speech.slf type in the command prompt window (still in the C:\JA2\Custom folder) JA2GDE Speech.slf 054 n. This extract the necessary voice-files. Rename all the voice-files and *.gap-files from 054_yyy.* to 011_yyy.*.
While were still in the command prompt window well also extract the subtitle-file. This is the file that contains the text of the voice files that are displayed when you have subtitles in the game turned on. Type JA2GDE MercEdt.slf 054 n. This extracts the 054.edt-file. Move this file to the C:\JA2\Data\MercEdt folder.
If you intend your custom to replace an AIM merc (like
Red) youll need additional files concerning contracts. MERC, RPC
and IMP-mercs dont use these files as RPCs stay the same price
throughout the game, MERC handles its contracts via e-mail and IMP
merc are 'hired' for a $ 3.000 one-time fee.
When you want to move a JA2:UB to a game involving bugs, youll encounter problems as none of the JA2:UB mercs have voice-files for meeting bugs. Youll have to solve these in the same way as you did the contract issues (new or suitable voice-files). An easy way to solve this problem is to replace bug-encounter-speeches with those for normal enemy-encounter-speeches. Youll have to be a little creative with some other speeches referring to bugs (smells like bugs were just here etc.).
For a list of what voice-files are used in which occasion check the voice file list below.
Note: its also possible to create new subtitles
to use with any new voice-files you created. Youll have to use Linx
JA2EDT program and open the xxx.edt-file, where xxx
again stands for the mercs number (in Dominos case: 054.edt).
When opening the file, youll see a list of the text-files used when
subtitling is turned on in the game. Edit the text you want to change.
|Step 4. Creating the biography|
|To change the biography of
your merc youll have to use either Linx JA2BE (Biography Editor,
capable of changing biography only) or Linx JA2EDT (capable of editing
all *.edt files, including biographies and subtitles). Ill assume
youre using JA2EDT.
First well need to extract necessary files. In the command prompt type JA2GDE binarydata.slf all. This extracts all files from binarydata.slf.
Start JA2EDT and open the biography file AIMbios.edt (if you want to change MERC personnel youll have to use the MERCbios.edt-file). Search for Red (nr. 11 remember?) and change his biography to the biography of Domino (think up something exciting ;-).
Save, exit JA2EDT and move AIMbios.edt to the C:\JA2\Data\BinaryData folder.
|Step 5. Using ProEdit|
ProEdit is a small editor included (but hidden) in JA2:UB. It is used to change mercs statistics, etc. The program is easy to use and, but if you dont understand some of the values, read the readme I made as part of the ProEdit download package from the downloads page.
Find Red in the list (nr. 11) and change him into Domino.
Change his nickname (Red) to the new nickname (Domino), set her statistics
(health, marksmanship etc.), change the salary to an appropriate amount
and basically, make a new merc.
See the readme-file for the other values.
Take care when you set the likes and hates values. The necessary voice-files may not exist, resulting in errors while playing the game. To solve this, either set all likes/dislikes about your new custom and who your custom likes/dislikes to nobody or replace the likes/dislikes voice-files with 0-byte voice-files or suitable comments (see voice-files).
A piece of advice: dont max out your custom mercs stats. This will make the game very unbalanced and too easy, not much fun. I advise you to use an existing mercs stats and just shuffle them around. Also pay attention to the salary. Choose this realistically. Dont make a merc with Gus stats and give him the salary of Bull. Again, this makes it unfair and too easy.
|Step 6. Cleanup:|
Now youre finished. If all goes well (and it
should if you followed all the steps above) youll now be able to
hire Domino from the AIM website.
For those of you unfamiliar with DOS (= command prompt
window) here are the commands to use:
|Voice file list|
All voice files named 'xxx_000.*' to 'xxx_78.*' are available for all
JA2 hirable mercs.
003 - bugs sighted
Voice files 'xxx_079.*' to 'xxx_116.*' are available to AIM mercs only. As said before, these mostly concern contact issues.
079 - (don't really know)
Most of these voices will never be heard in the game (assuming you are winning ;-). So it is not really nessecary to add all of the voice files. Also, all voice files used when on the telephone with the merc will most likely only be heard once (when you hire them). So if it doesn't bother you, you can leave them out ass well. This will bring up the original merc's voice when these situations occur.