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Class for Dark Forces Editing : New Items
LESSON ONE - WHAT CAN I CHANGE?
Well there's tons of stuff you can change in Dark Forces! Get ready for a list....... I'll do GOB stuff first, then LFD later.
Textures, objects, and scripts. It's quite easy to make new of these....you just make them and then put them in your GOB! By textures I mean BMs, objects can be FMEs, WAXes, 3DOs, and VOCs. By scripts I mean VUE scripts.
Wait screen. This is quite important to a good level. This is the initial startup screen that you see while the level loads. I wish it was possible to change the wait screen before each level, but for now, it isn't.
Cutscene and briefing order. To do this, you merely edit BRIEFING.LST and CUTSCENE.LST. I belive you can also edit cutscene music by editing CUTMUSE.LST. These all go in your GOB.
Ingame music. This is easy to change, just choose the combo of STALK and FIGHT GMIDs from the original musics and put them in your GOB under STALK-01.GMD and FIGHT-01.GMD. What's even better is to make your own custom MIDIs and include them. That way, however, you can only have a STALK one. With a good deal of work and some hex work, you can also add some commands to switch to FIGHT, but that's expert work.
Weapons. This is relatively easy to do, but hard to do well. Here's what you've gotta do. First, you need to change all the weapon BMs and shot WAXes and explosions, and put all that stuff in your GOB under the name that all the old weapon used. It depends on what weapon you're replacing, of course.
Fonts. Just choose the fonts you want (must be DF FNT format) and put them in your GOB under the right filename.
For LFD, briefings. Just edit the DELT and put it in your LFD under the name of your level.
Briefing background. Just edit the ANIM and put it in your LFD.
Textcrawl. Just edit the DELT and put in in your LFD under the right filename. It may take some FILM to get it aligned right.
Creditcrawl. Remember there can be 2 of these, beginning and end. Just make it and put it in your LFD under the right filename. Takes FILM most likely.
The cutscene itself. Now THIS is the hard part. Definitely takes FILM work. Just make the cutscene (combo of DELTs that move across the screen and ANIMs that move themselves, usually), then do the FILM and LST to make it work.
There are many much more subte things you can do with DF, but I won't even bother to list them all here. That's a great part of DF editing, the ability to control so much stuff.
LESSON TWO - WHY BOTHER?
That's easy. It makes the level better, and more interesting. A good part of DF editing is keeping your player's attention. If, as they move around, they are continually seeing and remarking at new items in your level, then there attention is kept.
LESSON THREE - HOW DO I DO IT WELL?
Yes, this is quite a valid question.
You first must not overdo it. Don't foget about the original stuff, it's very good as well. Its all got its place.
Make them fit. Don't flood your level with new stuff, balance it all out. You've also got to make them fit the theme. A little brightly coloured BM amongst an Imperial base obviously doesn't fit, unless you need to capture your player's attention.
A great thing to acheive is where the player doesn't even notice your new things, they just go right past it; either because they're real wrapped up in the level (good) or it just fits in perfectly (good).
LESSON FOUR - THINGS TO CONSIDER
Well, remember the cost of new items. Not only the time, but also the possibility of error, and the possiblity of serious problems.
You've also got to understand that every new item takes up space. Not only on your GOB and hard drive, but also in the upload and download. People playing your level are usually pretty patient in the DL, but you may not be so in the upload! Also remember not to overdo your quota on your web space with your levels..... :)