Author Topic: ...with a little help from my friends  (Read 856 times)

Offline atuXV

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...with a little help from my friends
« on: October 11, 2011, 05:15:20 AM »
Hello everyone. I am brand spanking new to your community, and I'm rather excited you're here. I've been a fan of Goldbox AD&D games since Pool of Radiance in '88. That was was my first experience of the D&D universe and it prompted me further to learn the pencil and paper version and read a number of the novels, and my life has been filled with fantasy and imagination since. During that magical time those years ago my brother picked up a copy of FRUA and I promptly fell in love. At that time, mid 90's?, I was a teen with all sorts of other things on my mind, so my D&D computer games fell to the wayside. Recently I was delighted to come across DOSbox and working versions of all of my favorite D&D computer games, including Unlimited Adventures. I was especially exited to find out that people still played these modules and were actively creating new ones. I'm currently playing The Sect, and I must say it's quite good. So with the background cleanly out of the way, I come to a few questions I have.

1. Should I bother creating mods from the stock FRUA Ckit, or is the demand mostly for hacked mods? I've been around computers my whole life and am not a complete idiot when it comes to their use, but I am also not super technically proficient. Hacking FRUA as a totally green noob seems daunting and I've dabbled with DC, but I've mainly been frustrated with the results. I want to create a quality and engaging game, but do I have to do months of leg work just to get started? I have seen the tread concerning hacking for noobs, but it's pretty vague to a non-tech such as myself with a list of links to .zip's that I don't really know how to use. I've installed UAshell (as I said I'm playing The Sect) but as far as using it to edit...

2. Is it possible for some sort of encompassing beginners tutorial (with a list of the various tools and programs and their proper use) aimed at schooling people like myself in the fine art of FRUA hacking? I don't know what the scope of such a project would entail and if anyone would be willing to undertake it or care enough about folks like myself to bother, but it would be nice to know where and how to start.

3. I'm running Windows 7, is there any serious issues I need to be aware of? (Point me to any forum post I may have missed if the answers are already available, and apologies for reposting here if they are).

Sorry if my post is irritating to you vets out there, that is not my intention. I just want to design a proper title, and I'm a sucker for customization, and any help that can be offered to a greenie like me would be much appreciated.
"I don't roll on Shabbas"

Offline nologgie

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2011, 07:02:46 AM »
Welcome to the forum, atuXV!

First, let me state that unhacked mods are VERY welcome.  :)
As are hacked mods.

I started a Hacking 101 thread a couple of years ago, ran into problems with organization, lost a bunch of pages to a drive crash, and never got back to it. It still has some useful info, though.

The Hacking FAQ at the UA File Archive is a great source, as are the UA Newsletters.

And questions about designing or hacking are welcome as well!
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2011, 07:12:34 AM »
Hello everyone. I am brand spanking new to your community, and I'm rather excited you're here. I've been a fan of Goldbox AD&D games since Pool of Radiance in '88. That was was my first experience of the D&D universe and it prompted me further to learn the pencil and paper version and read a number of the novels, and my life has been filled with fantasy and imagination since. During that magical time those years ago my brother picked up a copy of FRUA and I promptly fell in love. At that time, mid 90's?, I was a teen with all sorts of other things on my mind, so my D&D computer games fell to the wayside. Recently I was delighted to come across DOSbox and working versions of all of my favorite D&D computer games, including Unlimited Adventures. I was especially exited to find out that people still played these modules and were actively creating new ones. I'm currently playing The Sect, and I must say it's quite good. So with the background cleanly out of the way, I come to a few questions I have.

Welcome aboard.  It's always great to see new faces.

Quote
1. Should I bother creating mods from the stock FRUA Ckit, or is the demand mostly for hacked mods? I've been around computers my whole life and am not a complete idiot when it comes to their use, but I am also not super technically proficient. Hacking FRUA as a totally green noob seems daunting and I've dabbled with DC, but I've mainly been frustrated with the results. I want to create a quality and engaging game, but do I have to do months of leg work just to get started? I have seen the tread concerning hacking for noobs, but it's pretty vague to a non-tech such as myself with a list of links to .zip's that I don't really know how to use. I've installed UAshell (as I said I'm playing The Sect) but as far as using it to edit...

I recommend that you build your first module without any hacks.  Your chance of completing is much higher.   Whether or not you choose to change the artwork is up to you (that's something that UA supports natively).  But, seriously, if you release a module, people will play it.  It doesn't matter if it's hacked.  That's something you can conquer with your second module.

Secondly, I would make your first module a small one.

I say this because many many would-be designers never complete their first modules.  It's easy to get burned out or overwhelmed (even for experienced designers).  So, keep it simple and keep it small.

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2. Is it possible for some sort of encompassing beginners tutorial (with a list of the various tools and programs and their proper use) aimed at schooling people like myself in the fine art of FRUA hacking? I don't know what the scope of such a project would entail and if anyone would be willing to undertake it or care enough about folks like myself to bother, but it would be nice to know where and how to start.

These forums are a good place to start.  Not only are there a ton of helpful people here, but they can also point you to the answers you want.  There is probably nothing you can ask about UA that we haven't already encountered, conquered or dealt with.  So, don't be shy.

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3. I'm running Windows 7, is there any serious issues I need to be aware of? (Point me to any forum post I may have missed if the answers are already available, and apologies for reposting here if they are).

I'm also running Windows 7 (64-bit), and I don't have any issues running UA via DOSBox, if that's what you're asking.  It won't run natively in Windows anymore (which is something it used to do when Windows had some legacy DOS left over), so I wouldn't try that.

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Sorry if my post is irritating to you vets out there, that is not my intention. I just want to design a proper title, and I'm a sucker for customization, and any help that can be offered to a greenie like me would be much appreciated.

You won't irritate the vets.  We're always excited to see fresh faces and help make them vets as well.  This is a very helpful community.  No idea is stupid.  No design is dumb.  We're a diverse group from all over the world and we love to nurture new people.  I'm quite proud to say that you won't find any trolls in the bunch.

Once again:  Welcome!
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 07:49:01 AM »
Welcome to the wonderful world of FRUA, atuXV!  :)

You already got good advice from nologgie and ProphetSword, so I'll just add a few words from the perspective of a player. And speaking of words, text is a significant part of FRUA (or just UA for short  ;) ), so even if you stick to the default graphics your design will most probably offer something new and surprising to players due to how you describe your events. That being said, new graphics are always welcome, too. You can easily achieve a fresh look just by importing new pics, big pics, sprites and/or combat icons from our huge collection, without any need for hacks. We call that "French vanilla", as opposed to a pure "vanilla" design using only default graphics. So, if you are "a sucker for customization", French vanilla might be a good way to start and guarantee that your design will offer something new even to the most seasoned veterans, apart from your words, that is.

If at some point you feel the need for more customization, you can always ask for help and advice from community members. There are graphical hacks allowing you to also change backdrops, wallsets, frames, dungeon and wilderness combat backgrounds, font, font color etc. The way to implement them might seem a bit roundabout and complicated at first, but once you know how to do it, it's quite easy, really. You don't have to be tech-savvy to pull it off. In some cases it's just a matter of downloading files into your design folder and renaming them. You can also apply item and class hacks, change the default text and menus etc. but in most cases that's probably not necessary and not required for other people to enjoy your design at all.

Hope that helps!

Offline atuXV

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 09:59:51 AM »
Thank you all very much, and I'm very excited to get going. All of your suggestions and tips have given me quite a bit of encouragement, and I will take them seriously. I think I've found the right community to be a part of. Thanks again!
"I don't roll on Shabbas"

Offline GoldBoxFan

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 10:50:46 AM »
I find the best way to use hacks is to find a module that uses the hacks you want and copy the hack files (or the whole thing and start your module from it). There are world hacks set up for this reason: OAUA, GWUA, SHUA, DLUA, SFUA, WWUA and PSWH. Most of these are found at Rosedragon under hacks, though the plane scape world hack is currently in art. There is also a lot of art at CORHUB, most of which can be imported from the \frua\art folder.

Know that DOSBox doesn't always update new files, so sometimes you may have to exit DOSBox and restart it from scratch to get files you have moved to FRUA to show up.

As far as tools, CKITHack allows you to change weapons (with FRUA98), get rid of the password protection, change party size, value of treasure, experience for levels, race restrictions, etc. Sometimes it only works when loaded from Windows through UAShell. Toolbox is also a must as it has all sorts of programs combined, and allows you to make titles. And if you make your own art you need UA256 to convert it to the appropriate colors (only 224 allowed). There is also STRGEDIT for changing the names of headings and strings used in the editor, and allows you to move creatures and art from one heading to another. For instance, I changed Monsters to Aasimar.

Offline atuXV

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 01:41:13 PM »
Thanks GoldBoxFan, and I also want to say that I meant no criticism when I mentioned your thread about hacking for noobs. I guess vague wasn't the most apt description, but being  totally new to the idea of hacking mods...well it's all alot to take in. I'm trying to digest it all as best I can. Thanks for the tips about the editors, I'll definitely be looking into them.
"I don't roll on Shabbas"

Offline Ben J

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Re: ...with a little help from my friends
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2011, 02:36:59 PM »
I'm currently playing The Sect, and I must say it's quite good.

Glad to hear that. :)

I think your modding-questions have already been answered in this thread, but if you have any questions about The Sect (or how certain things in the game were done), don't hesitate to ask me.
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