Author Topic: Creature Editing/Creation for BG2 Using ShadowKeeper and BG2 CC By Vaskez  (Read 18864 times)

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Offline Solaufein

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This guide is aimed at anyone and everyone that wants to do creature editing. It tells beginners how to get started, but has useful reference material for even the more experienced editors. I have assumed throughout that you have either read my hex-editing guide or already know how to hex-edit. Of course, you can still use this guide if you can’t but you need knowledge of hex-editing to edit some stats for creatures.

 
Getting Started

 

In truth, it is impractical and very time-consuming to “create” a new creature from scratch. Therefore, neither of the editors gives you this option. Instead, choose the existing creature that is most similar to the one you want and edit it. You will need to use BiffTool to extract the Creatures.bif file,which can be found in the Baldurs Gate 2/data folder. This contains all the creature (CRE) files for the game.

I haven’t included ICM because it is not primarily a CRE editor and in the version I tested, there seemed to be a problem importing creatures, ie. all their attributes would be reset to the ICM defaults. References and site links are at the bottom.

 
What you’ll need

 

Shadowkeeper: http://www.mud-master.com/shadowkeeper/

 

BG2 Character Control: http://www.teambg.org/

 

Infinity Engine Editor Pro: http://www.teambg.org/

 

Infinity Explorer: http://infexp.sourceforge.net/

 

BiffTool: http://www.teambg.org/

 

Any hex-editor will do: http://www.google.com/search?q=Hex-Editors

 

The hex-editing reference, Infinity Engine File Format Hacking Project (IEFFHP): http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~jedwin/baldur.html#FileFormats

 

 
Summary of Editable Features

 

OK, first of all here’s a table listing all the editable features of a creature and whether each program can edit them or not. SK = ShadowKeeper, CC = BG2 Character Control.

All acceptable values or references to a list of acceptable values are also given. Note: if a filename is given, for .IDS files look in your Baldurs Gate 2/scipt compiler/ folder. IDS files have numbers and explanatory text next to them. The numbers are what should be entered if you are hex-editing, NOT the hex code for the text!

Statistics are listed in alphabetical order for ease of reference. For detailed information on each feature, see the Detailed Editing section.

Code: [Select]
Feature to edit  SK CC Reasonable/Acceptable Values
AI script, class  No No String ref to any script file
AI script, default    No No String ref to any script file
AI script, general  No No String ref to any script file
AI script, override  No No String ref to any script file
AI script, race  No No String ref to any script file
Alignment          Yes Yes Alignment.ids
Armour Class(base) Yes Yes -10...10
Attacks per round  Yes Yes 0…5
Avatar animation  Yes Yes Animate.ids
Charisma          Yes Yes 0…25
Class(es)          Yes Yes Class.ids
Colours          Yes No See colour gradient scheme
Constitution  Yes Yes 0…25
Dexterity          Yes Yes 0…25
Effects on creature Yes No Spell effects
Enemy/Ally status  No Yes EA.ids
Experience earned  Yes Yes 0…
Experience levels  Yes Yes 0…
Experience worth  No Yes 0…
Fallen ? (rans, pals)No Yes 0/1
Fatigue level  No No 0…100
Gender          Yes Yes Gender.ids
General category  No No General.ids
Gold held          Yes Yes 0…
Hit Points (base)  Yes Yes 0…
Intelligence          Yes Yes 0…25
Intoxication level  No No 0…100
Inventory         Yes No Any items
Kit                 Yes Yes Kit.ids
Lore                 No Yes 0…
Morale (base) No No 0…255?
Morale breaking pt No No 0…255?
Movement Speed Yes No  x
Name (long) Yes Yes String
Racial Enemy Yes Yes Race.ids
Race                Yes Yes Race.ids
Recovery Time No No 0…255?
Reputation        Yes No 0…20
Resistances        Yes Yes 0…
Saving throws Yes Yes 1…20
Specifics        No No Specific.ids
Spell Memorization Yes No 0…?


 

Detailed Editing – Things to look out for!

 

This section includes any extra details that are not immediately clear from the table and/or from just looking at the program interface. Again, in alphabetical order.

The hex offsets were taken from the Infinity Engine File Format Hacking Project website.

 

 

AI scripts – There are 5 levels of AI scripts, which describe how a creature behaves. If no AI script is specified, the creature will simply stand there and do nothing. Of course, when you are editing an existing creature, it will already have an AI script so you don’t have to worry about this.

The order of priority from lowest to highest is: default, general, race, class, override. It doesn’t really matter which script you put in which “slot” as long as you have the more important ones in a higher priority slot than the less important ones. If you make a custom script, put the .bcs file in the override folder and hex-edit the CRE file, entering the filename in the text section without the .bcs suffix. The fields are all 8 bytes long and the offsets are: 248h override, 250h class, 258h race, 260h general, 268h default.

 

Alignment- This setting can play an important part in any scripts that the creature may feature in. For example, a script may have an action that effects all chaotic evil creatures, so think about which existing creatures have what in the game and set this accordingly. Also, some spells effect only evil or only good creatures, so it DOES matter what you set this to.

 

Armour Class (base) - This is the AC of the creature before any bonuses are added. For example, keep in mind that if you give your creature 18 DEX the actual AC will be 4 better than this.

.

Attacks per Round – The base number of “natural” attacks the creature has. This does not take weapon proficiencies into consideration. For example, if you set this to 1 and the creature has a high proficiency in the weapon it is using, it will actually have more attacks than this.

 

Avatar Animation – This sets what your creature actually looks like, ie. which set of BAM files it uses for its animation . Altering this to a non-default value will be like visually shapeshifting the creature, but stats remain unchanged, except for movement speed, which is effected by animation type. For example, changing the animation type to “Lich” will result in the creature moving very slowly. Beware: Trying to use certain animations with certain classes or “general” types of creatures may crash the game.

 
Charisma – Only important for playable characters. Checks of charisma could be used in scripts or dialogues however.

 
Class – This sets the class or classes, which your creature is. Many non-humanoid creatures have their own classes and trying to make a humanoid, say an Elf have a class of “Dog-War” may produce unexpected results, or the game will probably simply ignore it.

 

Colours – All creatures have colour settings, not just the playable ones. There are settings for different parts of the avatar. Colours set here override the standard avatar colours for many humanoid avatars but have no effect on avatars such as “Lich” which have fixed colours. You should see the colour scheme that comes with IEEP for the values you can use when hex-editing. You should just use SK where you can though.

 

Constitution – Remember, set this to a number below 15 if you do not want it to effect the creature’s hit points.

 

Dexterity – Set this below 15 if you do not want it to effect the creature’s Armour Class and THACO when using missile weapons.

 

 

Effects on Creature – Any number of effects like spells can be permanently affecting a creature. These are usually protections from certain opcodes. SK allows editing of existing effects, but strangely doesn’t allow you to add new ones. The easier way to add effects is to have an item to give them and equip the item on the creature. Rings are often used to apply effects, as is the creature’s main weapon.

The value at offset 02C4h tells you the offset at which the effect details start in the CRE file. I recommend editing an existing creature with effects on it already, if you want to add your own effects. Copy the format for existing effects. The opcodes for effects are the opcodes used in IEEP. I think there is a list available somewhere, although I don’t know where. It is much easier to use the items method as detailed above.

 

Enemy/Ally status – This setting is much more than just whether the creature will attack the party on sight or not. A Neutral setting will give the creature a blue circle in the game, and as most people know, green is ally and red is enemy. However see the EA.ids file for the other possibilities. Set the creature to “neutral” if you just want to talk to it. You can always have a dialogue option that lets it join you, or become hostile. Setting this to “enemy” will mean that it is hostile to the party as soon as it is created, not only when it sees you. Setting this to “controlled” is good for creatures used in summoning spells because, then no matter what you do the creature will not turn on you. Some creatures turn on you if an area-effect spell from you hits them for example.

 

Experience Earned – This setting is only really important for playable characters when you want to let the game set their experience levels depending on XP. In general, for monsters and enemies that can’t join you, just set the Experience Levels.

 
Experience Levels – It is very important to set this correctly as experience level effects many things even if the creature is not playable. It may effect the power of many of the spells it casts, it may effect actions in scripts and it also determines how many “level-drains” the creature can survive. Of course for playable creatures, this is a vital setting.

 

Experience Worth – How much XP you get for killing the creature. Not important for playable characters unless you anticipate him/her turning on the party!

 

Fallen? – As you may have guessed, this sets the whether the ranger or paladin in question is fallen or not.

 

Fatigue Level – I am not sure if this setting is important for non-playable characters, seeing as they don’t rest. However, keep in mind, that setting this higher than 0 might affect the creature’s luck and therefore all its dice rolls for combat and saving throws. This feature will have to be hex-edited, the relevant offset is at 06Bh and the field is only 1 byte long. Enter a hex value between 00 and 64 (0-100).

 

Gender – Not as straight-cut as it looks. Not just male or female. This setting plays an important role in scripts so make sure you check other creatures that are similar to your creature and set it the same unless you know exactly what you are doing.

 

General Category – All creatures fit into one of the main categories such as Humanoid, Monster or Animal. This setting is also used for items, although I’ve never tried setting the general category of a creature to that of a weapon! Again, this plays an important role in scripts and in spells such as “Charm Mammal” which will only affect those creatures who have this setting as “Animal”. Similarly, turn undead will only affect those who have this set to “Undead”.

The editors don’t cover this feature as I assume they expect you to edit an existing creature. Just in case, the relevant offset is 271h, 1 byte, see General.ids for the values which are given in decimal so you have to convert them.

 

Gold Held – Set this to the number of gold pieces you want the creature to drop when you kill it, hehe. Or, if this is a playable creature, this is the gold in its inventory.

 

Hit Points (base) – Don’t forget that this value is affected by constitution, so set this lower than you want if giving the creature a constitution above 14.

 

Intelligence – Not a terribly important setting for non-playable creatures. Of course this does effect how long some of your spells (like Maze) will affect them for and of course how many intelligence drains they can survive.

 

Intoxication Level – Affects morale/luck, so judge for yourself how to set this. Again this must be hex-edited. The field is at 06Ch and is 1 byte long, values are between 00h and 64h.

 

Inventory – Obviously very important especially for non-playable creatures, as they are not going to go around and pick things up for themselves. Give monsters un-droppable items for weapons that represent things like their claws or paws. Items of type “Book” are often used for “fist” weapons of creatures as they don’t seem to be dropped upon death. As mentioned earlier, rings are useful for adding permanent effects and protections to a creature. CC allows you to view a creature’s inventory but not edit it. SK allows full editing. However, beware (for example) of putting potions in the creature’s shield slot and stupid things like that, as that will crash the game.

 

Kit – This setting is vital for playable creatures. For other creatures it is usually set to “True class”.

 
Lore – Only important for playable characters, SK cannot edit this, so use CC or hex edit at the offset 066h (1 byte). I’m not sure if values over 64h (100) will be accepted.

 

Morale (base) – This is the basic, “normal” value of the creature’s morale. This sets how easily a creatures panics in combat. It must be hex-edited at the offset 023h. The length of this field is 1 byte so theoretically, acceptable values are between 0 and 255, that’s 00h and FFh.

 

Morale Breaking Point – If the morale drops to this level, the creature will panic. So obviously, a big difference between Morale (base) and breaking point will result in a fearless creature, hehe.

 

Movement Speed – Setting this to 0 will result in the normal movement speed of the player character. Negative and positive numbers result in slower and faster movement. This is actually not set by a specific field in the CRE file, rather it is implemented by a permanent Spell Effect on the creature, which is applied when you use this option in ShadowKeeper.

 

Name (long) – Each creature has 2 name settings, one for in game (this one) and one for tooltips. The name is not stored as a string in the CRE file. The CRE file contains a reference number to the dialog.tlk entry that is the creature’s name. When you enter a new name in CC, it creates a new entry in dialog.tlk and sets the reference in the CRE file to that entry. With SK, if you want a new name, you have to use the dialog.tlk editor in IEEP to create a new entry with the name and then enter the hex representation of the reference number in SK. Usually, both the long and short names are the same, even if they point to different entries, in other words, both entries contain the same thing. For customs, this means, just make one entry and in SK, set both values to reference that entry.

 

Racial Enemy – This setting is only supposed to be used for rangers and consequently, SK only allows you to set if for rangers. However, you can be sly and hex-edit the creature file and, in theory this should give any creature combat bonuses against the hated race. An added advantage of hex-editing is that you can set ANY race as the hated race, for example a Drow might hate humans. However, I haven’t tried this, therefore I can’t tell you if it works, the game might simply ignore this field for non-rangers. Set the byte at 241h to a value from Race.IDS. Of course, change the number to hex first.

 

Race – This is of course one of the most important settings. It affects many things including many script actions so set it carefully for any creature. Note: weapons are also given races to describe their type. Of course trying to set a creature’s Race to “Sword” may well crash the game.

 

Recovery Time – When a creature’s morale reaches breaking point, this is the number of seconds it takes to recover from panic. Edit the byte at 242h. I don’t recommend values of over 3Ch (1 minute).

 

Reputation – This is really only important for playable creatures, although you could use the reputation of a creature in a custom script.

 

Resistances – Both programs can edit these just fine, and they are pretty self-explanatory. It is useful to note that nice effects can be achieved using scripts that check a creature’s resistances. For example for a spell-casting enemy, you could make a script that lets him check his own magic resistance and if it is low, make him cast spell trap on himself or something.

 

Saving Throws – Again, one of the more important settings. Self-explanatory.

 
Specifics – Used in scripts as another method of categorisation among other things. Offset 274h (1 byte), enter a value from Specific.IDS.

 

Spell Memorisation – The number of spells of each level and type that the creature can memorise. This can be set in SK. Note: these numbers are usually determined by class and level for playable characters and are not really important for non-playable creatures, I’ll explain why under the Spells heading.

 

Spells – The number and type of spells that a creature has memorised. Note: it is not actually necessary for a creature to have a spell memorised for it to cast it. If the ReallyForceSpell command is used in the creature’s script, it will cast the spell, regardless of whether it has it memorised or not. These settings are useful when you want to create a custom playable creature with innate abilities and I suggest you use SK.

 
Strength/ Strength+ - Don’t forget that strength affects THACO as well.

 

THACO (base) – This is the THACO of a creature before any strength or luck or weapon proficiency modifiers are applied. Keep that in mind.

 

Thieving Skills – Obviously important settings for a thief NPC that can join you, but also important for non-playable characters, for example, enemy thieves and rangers when they try to hide in the shadows.

 

Weapon Proficiencies – These settings are not required for non-playable characters unless they are using a weapon other than “fist” weapons. Most monsters including things like golems have their own “fist” weapons.

 

Wisdom – Mostly important for playable creatures only, but it also affects priests’ saving throws so may be an important setting for enemy priests. Also, as with other stats, dialogue options may depend on comparing the player character’s wisdom with the creature’s.
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