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Thread: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

  1. #1
    CraigTW's Avatar Creative Assembly
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    CA Developer Icon Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Total War: The modding situation

    Moderators: Feel free to sticky or front page this thread.

    Hi everyone,

    The Total War series has a long and venerable history of modding, courtesy of yourselves. We’ve talked for a long time about releasing tools for your use, and as you’re (keenly!) aware this still hasn’t happened yet. We know you’re frustrated at the situation, and take it from us, so are we.

    For this reason, we’re giving you the complete raw database XML (data from tables) and XSD (table structure and field properties) files for both Empire and Napoleon - they're attached to this post. Armed with these, you will have a ton of data to work with, and you’ll also know what’s in every field of every table. There’s an awful lot in there, and we sincerely hope this will help you in your efforts. If you have any questions concerning the XML and XSD files, ask away, we’ll do our best to answer them.

    There are number of reasons we haven’t released tools yet, and to fully examine why, we need to wind things back to the Rome Total War days.

    Back then, the game engine was a hell of a lot simpler than it is now. There was a fraction of the database table files we use today, and these were basic, easily-editable text files. Compared to today’s binary files, which we’ve had to implement to fight naturally expanding load-times, they were a doddle to mod. Likewise, today’s campaign map is vastly more complex and data-dense than Rome’s, which was basically a simple TGA file that could be edited in photoshop. Today’s maps demand way more complexity in order to allow for better path-finding and AI. In addition, Rome’s campaign map was tile based; today’s campaign map is seamless for better movement, making it that considerably harder to mod.

    Back in the Rome days, Vercingetorix created tools that were absolutely key to the explosion of Total War modding; tools such as the CAS exporter and the unpacker. You were happy, we were thrilled and some fantastic mods (such as the breathtaking Europa Barbarorum) were born, and enjoyed by thousands, us included. We’re still in awe of what people achieved with Rome and Medieval II’s engines.

    We would dearly love this to continue, and we’ve always aimed to release official tools to help you realise your own visions in the engine. But every time we sit down and talk about what’s actually involved (and we’ve had countless such meetings over the last couple of years), we hit a brick wall.

    We have tools that work with our internal data processes, but wouldn’t work at all as mod tools. It would take a huge amount of development resources to combine them into something approaching usable. Many of our tools are just designed to work with our raw data formats and process them into something used by the game, not to take a processed item and view or edit it. Nor do we have tools to do most of the things you really want – such as model importing – as we have no need of them; we have the raw models, and can always export them and reprocess them. Creating a set of tools specifically for modding is never going to be the quick or simple procedure many of you would hope for, and between making games, creating new content and supporting each release with balances and fixes, our production schedules are fierce.

    The unit editor we mentioned for Napoleon was such a case of ambition overshadowing reality. The unit editor we actually have is a tool used internally for putting the look of units together, but it never made the final cut as an in-game feature, as it was a completely new tool for Napoleon: very much in its messy infancy, and in no way fit for public consumption. The Avatar system (in particular unit colouring) in Shogun 2 is how this eventually made it into the game. However, it’s interesting to note how the ever-resourceful community has developed its own tools to edit the unit-variant files and texture atlases…

    Please understand that we’re not trying to constrain modding in any way; we simply haven’t been able to support it as well as we really wanted to, and the increasingly complex Warscape engine is by nature much harder to mod. Also, this isn’t a conspiracy to make you buy DLC over creating your own content… if that were true, there never would have been the possibility of making unit-packs for Empire and Napoleon. The fact remains that modders have made many such excellent units, and enriched the game for thousands of Total War players. We still want to help though, and we think the best way to do this is to give you the raw database XML and XSD files.

    We hope that by being more transparent about our aims – and abilities – in future, and by providing useful data such as this, we can show that we really do value your creativity and hard work. You’re important to us, and important to the ongoing success and popularity of the Total War series.

    Going forward, we’ll be working on a better strategy to support modding, and we’re now planning what we’re going to do for Shogun 2. But we’re going to stop promising specifics that we’re unable to deliver, as we all know how well that’s worked out in the past.

    Happy modding,

    The Creative Assembly
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Lord Baal's Avatar System Lord
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    THANKS A LOT DUDE!!!! With all my heart, thanks!!! I'm gonna start to cry!

    Can't wait to see what the modders of Empire and nappy can do with this..

    Edit: I literally cried of joy over this! Damn it Craig! I'm on my office now and now I'm embarrassed with my partners!
    Last edited by Lord Baal; June 30, 2011 at 11:04 AM.
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    Toph's Avatar Moderator Emeritus
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Thank you, CA!

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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    This is a historic day!

    Let us hope it breathes some new life into ETW/NTW modding.
    Last edited by Juvenal; June 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM.
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    The Hedge Knight's Avatar Fierce When Cornered
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Once again thanks, nice to know somthings going on.
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    Kip's Avatar Idea missing.
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    A round of applause for CA!

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    Lord of Lost Socks's Avatar Sagittarius
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Thank you, CA.
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    fightermedic's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    ah well, im not absolutley sure how much this helps modding, but it sounds as it would help quite a bit
    if so, then this is very pleasant news.
    hoooray

  9. #9
    freazy's Avatar Miles
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

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    alhoon's Avatar Tribunus Augusticlavii
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Thanks Craig, +rep.

    I officially bite my tongue since I was one of the multitude that thought this was never going to be addressed.

    Not only you addressed the issue officialy but you gave us what you could. It's appreciated.

    PS. Are you sure you can afford to offer that? Kinda heavy bonus and could lead to other corporates stealing your work.
    Last edited by alhoon; June 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM.

  11. #11
    T.C.'s Avatar Ultima Ratio Regum
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Today, you've made many friends
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  12. #12
    djehoety's Avatar Equites Cohortales
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Nice to see that the CA team finaly helps the comunity an bit. CA must not forget that the total war series without community is just an ''good'' game with much bugs and non-correct historical facts. Without mods are the total war series just like COD and other games that have no band anymore with the comunity. So, thank you CA i hope you wil release some mapping tools for Empire, Napoleon and ofcourse shogun2!

    thanks and + rep
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    Emperor of The Great Unknown's Avatar Pili Posterior
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Does this mean potential tools are delayed or canceled?

    And are we going to expect you guys using the same engine in future total war games?
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    joedreck's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Sorry CA. This is to late. You lost the best modders and I'm not modding, playing or buy TW anymore.

    I know you can't realize all wishes, but the modders can and you didn't want that. I'm sorry for that.

    I wish you all best.

    Joedreck
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    Dr. Xavier's Avatar Professor X
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Kudos CA! Thanks for the raw database XML and XSD files.
    Last edited by Dr. Xavier; June 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM.
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    The Holy Pilgrim's Avatar In Memory of Blackomur
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Craig is about to get more rep and thanks than KK when a new TATW version is released

    Thank you for that very well written and thought-out letter, Craig. You just made the TWC a MUCH happier place.

    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by joedreck View Post
    Sorry CA. This is to late. You lost the best modders and I'm not modding, playing or buy TW anymore.

    I know you can't realize all wishes, but the modders can and you didn't want that. I'm sorry for that.

    I wish you all best.

    Joedreck
    Your loss, man. TW is still my favorite series of all time. CA has been improving themselves; sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But I for one am glad that CA has created such a wonderful gaming experience for me. Creative Assembly has my full support whenever they need it.

    It's a shame we lost a modder like you, though. I do hope you'll reconsider staying.
    Last edited by The Holy Pilgrim; June 30, 2011 at 11:30 AM.

  17. #17
    Chevalier IX's Avatar Sagittarius
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Through all of the trials and tribulations that we have faced as a community these past few years I kept my faith that CA did indeed have our best interest in mind as their most dedicated of fan bases.I am pleased to say that I was right to do so,my allegiance never faltered and I am proud for this day thank you so much Craig,and thank you CA

  18. #18
    Little Legionaire's Avatar IYI
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    Modders thanksgiving day June of 30

  19. #19
    ♔hammeredalways♔'s Avatar Darthmod Moderator
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    cheers Craig, the efforts and statement is appreciated
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  20. #20
    HissingNewt's Avatar Pili Posterior
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    Default Re: Official CA comment - Total War: The modding situation

    So, could someone explain what these databases allow to happen that wasn't possible before?

    Anyways, thanks CA.
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