Creating compound DLC's?!
I wonder whether someone could explain to me -- and feel free to assume I'm an idiot, LOL, as I have a hard time grasping the process -- how to create a compound DLC? (One with multiple cars in, taken from existing mods, so as to minimize the total amount of add-ons).
I read the tutorials at [Tutorial | Vehicles/Weapons] How to do: Add-On's / Replacer's And I think I get the process enough to understand what data to collect where.
What I specifically do NOT understand, though, is how to separate these 'collection of mods', really. Shouldn't each and every 'imported' mod, within the new, compound DLC, have its own substructure, as it were?! Because the way I'm looking at it now, everything would start clobbering over each other.
@meimeiriver I am just in the process of creating a video for this very subject. I got delayed earlier by screwing up my vehicle_modkit part of the process, so I had to rebuild all those first.
Needless to say though, trying to put the process in a logical order, without making it totally confusing, is tricky... so it's going to take me a while to get it done. I am having to do a small snippet, pause and then really think about what I need to do next. I don't want to create one of those videos where the person is constantly correcting their mistakes as they do it.
The way I am building my packs, requires a bit of preparation, so I am having to try and think about how to build that into it as well... bear with me, I'll get there.
@LeeC2202 Your continued efforts to help out the community are highly appreciated! I look eagerly forward to your vid! And, yes, I totally understand it will take some time for you to compile all your knowledge on the matter in a coherent, video-presentable way.
Just to add something that might give you a better idea of how it works...
Imagine the dlclist.xml, you add a new addon by creating a new entry defined in an element pair of <Item>...</Item>.
In each addon file, vehicle entries are equally defined within a pair of <Item>...</Item> elements, just not on the same line.
So if you imagine your dlclist entry had to be like this:
That's effectively what each section of the vehicle meta files is like. And like your dlclist, the game knows how to separate those items, because of how they are defined within the element pairs.
@LeeC2202 Thank you! That's a good place to start!
I might as well expand on this a bit more while I am here, just to get things ticking over...
So let's take the vehicles.meta file... an empty one looks like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <CVehicleModelInfo__InitDataList> <residentTxd>vehshare</residentTxd> <residentAnims /> <InitDatas> </InitDatas> <txdRelationships> </txdRelationships> </CVehicleModelInfo__InitDataList>
And as you can see, that is two independent sections, InitDatas and txtRelationships. So when you look in a vehicle.meta file that is from an addon car, you will see those two sections and within each one, is an <Item>...</Item> pair within those sections.
So what you are doing, is extracting those sections from each meta file and then stacking them, just like dlclist entries, one under the other, making sure to keep them properly enclosed and within their respective sections.
So what you end up with, is
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <CVehicleModelInfo__InitDataList> <residentTxd>vehshare</residentTxd> <residentAnims /> <InitDatas> <Item> Addon 1 </Item> <Item> Addon 2 </Item> <Item> Addon 3 </Item> </InitDatas> <txdRelationships> <Item> Addon 1 </Item> <Item> Addon 2 </Item> <Item> Addon 3 </Item> </txdRelationships> </CVehicleModelInfo__InitDataList>
@LeeC2202 Brilliant! This is precisely the sort of explanation-for-dummies I was looking for! Thanks!
@meimeiriver If you use Notepad++, get the XML tools plugin.
When you have that, load in a vehicle meta file and go to Plugins > XML Tools > Pretty print (XML Only) option and that will lay out the XML file with better indenting, making things much easier to see. It will also validate your XML and won't let you save invalid data.
There are a couple of files like the vehicle.meta files that you have to watch for, which I did mention in the Add-On tutorial thread. Carcols has a section each for <Kits> and <Lights>. vehiclelayouts.meta has a potential 20 individual sections that you have to watch out for.
There's also another called clip_sets.xml but I don't know what that one does yet. I have only seen it once and the car that had it crashed all the time, so I didn't spend too much time with it.
Not sure what else will be useful at this point. If you are like me, it was the extracting and combining data I just couldn't get my head around.
I did remove two files from addons, and those were a file to do with the shop (shop_vehicle or something) and a contentunlocks.meta. I think they're for the shop or something and as I don't ever go there, they served no purpose, so I removed them.
Oh, and dlctext.meta always seems to be empty in every car I have done, so not sure what that's for either.
@LeeC2202 You've given me quite a bit of info to get me really started on this! Thanks again.
@meimeiriver Something I have just discovered, which will only affect you if you are using the Notepad++ and XML Tools combination, is that when you open vehicles.meta from the addon-folders base download, it generates an error because the green comment line is an invalid XML comment.
Once that line is gone, the file is fine, so don't worry about the error if you see it.
Typically, I went through all the meta files in one take, thinking this is not going to be a problem, then the last file caused an error, so I have to redo them all again.
That'll teach me to get cocky.
So the more I looked into the video idea... the more I saw endless pitfalls to cause a problem.
The thing about instructions in written form, is they allow for a variation in source data... videos are too literal, they create the "Well my data doesn't look like that" syndrome, which can cause problems in itself.
I could probably pick 5 cars out of my collection and each one would be configured differently with respect to the data locations. So I think if I can help to provide the building blocks in written form, that make the process easier, I don't mind providing further breakdowns of individual files based on what I know up to now.
Be good to hear how you're getting on as well... hopefully successfully.
@LeeC2202 Lee, I understand the issues you might have when making vids. Nonetheless, I hope you will continue, at least, with your written tutorial for 'dummies', like yours truly. You really have a very good way of making things clear, step-by-step.