Project Perfect Mod

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PPM Frequently Asked Questions
April 07, 2003 - 08:37


PPM Questions:

Question: What is PPM?

Answer: PPM is short for Project Perfect Mod.  PPM was created in October 2000 by TS, as an attempt to create a Mod that incorporates all the ideas of its members, and doesn't have one member controlling everything.  We are making a Mod for Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun at the moment. We also started hosting mods and creative projects related to modifications, as well as any activity to support modification. Today, Project Perfect Mod is much more a community than a simple modding team.

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Question: What is PPM's objective?

Answer: The current objective of the Project Perfect Mod is to finish our TS mod known as PPM: Final Dawn. We are also a modding community that supports other projects and future modders to expand the community.

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Question: What is PPM: Final Dawn?

Answer: PPM: Final Dawn is our TS mod.  We are working hard on it, but since it includes too many new units, graphics, sides and including a new improved AI, we still can't finish it as quickly as some other Mods, however, we are working hard to finish it as soon as we can.



Site Questions:

Question: How do I advertise in this site?

Answer: Contact the webmaster at webmaster[at]ppmsite.com (replace [at] with @) with your offer. We are open for banner advertisements, with flash content or not. Banner's width must have a maximum of 160 pixels of width and 720 pixels of height and should be displayed in the right side of the site, above 'Support Us'.

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Question: How do I donate to the site?

Answer: Check the 'Support Us' section in the right side of the site. Click in the picture and select your payment way. We accept paypal, most credit cards. The paypal part is pretty much intuitive.

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Question: Why do I get by donating money to the site?

Answer: The money will be used to keep the server up, to ship prizes from competitions (FedEx is very expensive) and keep a motivated webmaster. Once you donate, email the webmaster if you wish to get a news post or a public recognition for helping the site. We no longer offer custom ranks for donations.

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Question: Why does the poll that I voted still appears to be voted?

Answer: Script problems that will never be fixed.

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Question: When browsing PPM, some advertisement popups. Why?

Answer: This might probably be caused by spyware. One thing we suggest is getting Ad-aware, a program that searches your computer for programs that are installed without your knowledge. These programs are used to spy on you and your web browsing habits, and send personal information about you to companies.  Some of these programs cause advertising popups to appear randomly, based on a number of factors.  Other causes could be windows open in the background, hidden offscreen, or even hit counters or CGI scripts from off-site that cause popups to appear.

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Question: Why does some sections are still uncompleted or grey?

Answer: Because we couldn't be bothered making it yet or we doesnt have enough material to post there or we dont know what to write there in the moment. But we will make them... maybe Wink (or maybe not).

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Question: Is the webmaster list in the site correct?

Answer: One webmaster is much more active than the other, but the other supported the site a lot with graphics. We still have to see him posting any news.

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Question: Is modding illegal? Is it against the End User Liscense Agreement?

Answer: It may violate the EULA, however, EA like modders. Mods extends the life from their games, making them selll more for a longer period. Therefore, despite the violation to the EULA, modding Command & Conquer games is appreciated, as long as you don't make money of it. Some mods however, may violate the intelectual property from other companies. In this case, their authors need to make sure that the IP owner isn't against the use of their ideas/concepts/materials in the production of fan mods.

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Question: How do I change my nickname in the PPM forums?

Answer: In order to change your nickname in the forums, you must request it to Banshee by using PM or the email account used to register in the forums. However, name changes will only be allowed in accounts that have no posts. Once you post a topic or reply for the first time, your nickname will no longer be changed and you'll be known as the nickname you've chosen forever.

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Question: How do I get unbanned from the forums?

Answer: Create a new account and behave more maturely next time, otherwise you'll be hunted and banned as many times as necessary.

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Question: When browsing PPM, why are some videos appearing in the wrong news post?

Answer: Apparently, some AdBlock softwares/extensions switch the order of the videos posted in the PPM's frontpage by showing videos that are supposed to belong in one of the news at another news. The reason for it to happen is unknown and solutions are still being investigated.

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OS Tools and SVN Questions:

Question: What is SVN?

Answer: SVN stands for Subversion and it is a version control software that makes team work software development easier. Once a file is changed in one machine, all other machines will be able to get the changes and track the developpment. Read Subversion description at Wikipedia for more details.

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Question: How do I use SVN at PPM?

Answer: You can check all public SVNs at http://svn.ppmsite.com. Browse them and you may find a Welcome.txt that contains instructions on how to access them with a SVN client. We recommend Tortoise SVN client, which integrates with windows explorer. Simply right click the directory where you want the program to be downloaded and all options will be there. Checkout to download it for the first time. Update to update what you have to the latest version. Commit to change it, if you have permissions to do it.

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Question: What are night builds?

Answer: They are the executable files that you may find at the SVN repositories. They are usually beta, with incomplete features or under construction things and maybe corrupted features as well. They are usually safe, but we always recommend reading the release notes to confirm it.

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Question: How do I get a night build from VXLSE III?

Answer: Browse the file contents until you find vxsle_iii.exe. You can currently grab it HERE. Once downloaded, replace your old vxlse_iii.exe with the new one.

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Question: How do I get a night build from OS BIG Editor?

Answer: OS BIG Editor 0.6 has a completely different file structure than 0.5. So, we recommend you to checkout (if it's your first time) or Update the package. You will find the executable on OS BIG Editor 0.6/Output/bigeditor.exe.

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Question: How do I get a night build from OS SHP Builder?

Answer: Browse the file contents until you find SHP_Builder.exe. You can currently grab it HERE. Once downloaded, replace your old SHP_Builder.exe with the new one.

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Game Questions:

Question: When playing TS/RA2 on WOL/XWIS, it says I have an invalid serial number. Why?

Answer: This is probably because when you first installed TS/ra2, you typed the wrong serial number, (There are several serial numbers the game accepts, but it's still not the right one. To fix the problem, just reinstall Tiberian Sun or Red Alert 2 with the correct serial number. You will also find that you can use ra2 serial numbers for TS.

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Question: In Red Alert 2, all my units explodes in about 10 seconds. Why?

Answer: Nobody really knows why this thing happens. It might be because you have edited something you shouldn't, but problems in nearly all cases have been after editing the game in some way. To fix it, you must re-install Ra2. Instalation of Rock Patch, NPatch or Ares may avoid this problem.

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Question: How do I play Tiberian Sun mods with custom executable on The First Decade, such as Return Of The Dawn, NCM Revolution and Tiberian Sun: Total War?

Answer: Download Tiberian Sun Mod Fixer and apply it in the custom executable of the mod.

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Question: How do I play user made Tiberian Sun maps?

Answer: Make sure the .mpr map is in your Tiberian Sun directory. Then, just choose the multiplayer map from the list.

However, note that the higher the ammount of .mpr maps you have in your TS dir, the higher the game will lag. To prevent lags, follow the following instructions:

-> 1) If the extension of your map is .mpr, change it to .map.

-> 2) Create an ecacheXX.mix (XX is a two digit number) and place your map inside it using XCC Mix Editor. To do this, open the ecache file on XCC Mix Editor, make sure your windows explorer is not maximized. Drag your file from the windows explorer and drop it inside XCC Mix Editor. Compact Mix when you are done.

-> 3) Open missionsXX.pkt  with wordpad. If you don't have one, create an empty one.

-> 4) Add your map to the [MultiMaps] list.

[MultiMaps]
1=MYNEWMAP   ; Note: MYNEWMAP must be the name of your map without the .map extension.

-> 5) Adapt the code below and add it in the end of the file.

[MYNEWMAP]
Description=This is the name of my map in the multiplayer maps option.
CD=0,1,2
MinPlayers=2
MaxPlayers=8


You can also use MSCG to do this dirty job for you.

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Question: I have a duo (or more) core processor and Windows 2000/XP or better. My Yuri's Revenge crashes in the start. How do I fix it?

Answer: Make a short cut for it and in the shortcut properties, use Windows 98 Compatibility mode.

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Question: Is 'Nod' spelled with capital letters?

Answer: Of course NO. Only the GDI scum does that. Nod does not abbreviate anything. The hebrew word Nod comes from the bible, which was the source of inspiration for Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod. According to the bible, Cain was banished to the Land of Nod, which would be the land of the wandering.

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Question: I'm trying to run Tiberian Sun with a mod like TS:TW or Tiberium Future: A Dying World in my Windows 2000/XP?Vista and the game is crashing. How do I fix it?

Answer: Make a short cut for it and in the shortcut properties, use Windows 98 Compatibility mode.

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TS/RA2 Modding Questions:

Question: When I start TS up, it freezes on "Gathering Intel On Involved Factions". Why?

Answer: This is because one of your new voxels added is missing an accompanying HVA file. If the HVA file is there, check the name is EXACTLY the same as the name of the voxel, and that the HVA is not damaged. You can use the OS: HVA Builder to create new voxel animations (HVA) for your voxel or a standard one.

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Question: Why does GDI AI builds a bunch of Component Towers without upgrades in some TS mods?

Answer: GDI AI was programmed to build upgrades on component towers for all their defensive structures. If you have defensive structures that isn`t an upgrade from Component Tower, AI will fail when it tries to build it and it will retry the operation by building another component tower for it. If you still want to have a defensive structure that doesn`t depends on component tower, remove the line IsBaseDefense=yes and AIBuildThis=yes. This might fix your problem.

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Question: Why does EVA keeps saying "New Construction Options" after I build every building?

Answer: This happens because you have the prerequisites to build something not allowed to the side you are playing. Check your sidebar to find out the problematic building or unit (that doesnt allows you to build it) and fix the prerequisites or owner in the rules.ini.

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Question: How do you change the queued limit?

Answer: Open rules.ini (TS and RA2) or rulesmd.ini (YR). and search for 'MaximumQueuedObjects' and it will bring you to a line like:

MaximumQueuedObjects=

Change the value to the value you wish minus 1. For example, if you wanna to queu 60 units, change MaximumQueuedObjects= value to 59. The consequence is that you will be able to queue other 59 units while one is being produced... Usually I set this limit to 99 Wink.

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Question: Why is my unit invisible in game?

Answer: Make sure the internal name of your unit (between [ ]) is declared on art.ini or your unit has a Image= that is declared on art.ini. Make sure this declaration on art.ini is a name of a valid SHP (TS) file (according to XCC Mixer and OS SHP Builder).

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Question: How do you build an air transport on Tiberian Sun?

Answer: If you the version of your Tiberian Sun is lower than 2.0 (no Firestorm), use Category=AirTransport. It should work correctly. If you want your mod to have Firestorm and use the latest TS version, then you'll need to use CarryAll=yes tag, but that will make the transport land and take off to unload each passenger and vehicles will also be transported by your aircraft. Unfortunately, there is no user made game patch that fixes this limitation yet on Firestorm.

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Question: Are the TS and RA2 engine sensitive to capital letters?

Answer: Yes, they are. If you write Image=, it will recognize it, but IMAGE= might not be recognized. Make sure your spelling is correct on your ini files. Remember, Ini Checker is your friend.

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Question: How do I get all INI files?

Answer: Download XCC Utilities and open XCC Mixer. Look at the File -> Found and browse tibsun.mix. Inside it, check local.mix and you'll find all original INI files there. Right click them and click extract, to extract them. For the latest rules.ini, art.ini and ai.ini, check patch.mix. Expand01.mix (Firestorm only) also has several ini files.

For Red Alert 2/Yuri's Revenge, check ra2(md).mix -> local(md).mix to find most of INI files there. Yuri's Revenge also has an expandmd01.mix with the latest rules.ini.

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Question: How do I open and edit INI files?

Answer: Use WordPad or NotePad (Windows 2000+). We recommend NotePad++ with INI Checker (for spell checking). While some people may enjoy third party tools such as TibEd, Sun Edit 2k and few others, we do not recommend them, because they are not compatible with Rock Patch, NPatch, ETS, Ares and whatever kind of work around that fans can create to expand their modding limits.

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Question: What is SHP? How do I open and edit them?

Answer: The S from SHP stands for sprites. Therefore, SHP are the 2D images used on old C&C games. You can view them with XCC Mixer, OS SHP Builder or SHP Shell Extension. XCC Mixer and OS SHP Builder can convert these files into other graphic formats used by Photoshop, GIMP and other programs. You can also edit the SHP files with OS SHP Builder, which is very useful for recoloring them.

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Question: How do I put the SHP ingame?

Answer: First of all, place it inside ecacheXX.mix (XX = a two digits number from 02 to 99), or ecachemdXX.ini (for YR) with XCC Mix Editor. Then, you need to code your art.ini (artfs.ini for Firestorm, artmd.ini for YR) properly. Infantry, buildings and animations are coded in a different way. The best way to code your unit or animation is to clone the code of the most similar unit possible and modify this code to fit your objectives with it. The name of your SHP must be between [ ], unless it is a part of the unit.

Once it's coded, make sure that your unit or something is using your image by placing Image=YOURIMAGE (replace YOURIMAGE with the name you placed between [ ]  in the art.ini file) in the unit or whatever that uses it at rules.ini (firestrm.ini for Firestorm, rulesmd.ini for YR). If you have a unit with the same name of your image in rules.ini, you don't need to add the Image= code, since it will automaticaly try to use an image with the same name.

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Question: What is a voxel (VXL files)?

Answer: Voxel is a kind of 3D bitmap that Westwood used to avoid users from needing a 3d graphics accelerator card to play the game. It stores a 3D matrix in pixels, where each of them has a colour and normal. Most of TS and RA2 vehicles and aircrafts are voxels. Some building turrets are also voxels.

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Question: How do I open and edit VXL files?

Answer: You can view them with OS:.Voxel Viewer. To edit them, use Voxel Section Editor III (VXLSE III).

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Question: What are 'surface normals' in voxels about?

Answer: If you've ever studied 'normals' in physics at school, that's what we are talking about. It's a unitary vector that reflects the orientation of the surface, affecting the ammount of red, green and blue on it.

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Question: How do I convert 3D models into VXL files?

Answer: Use 3ds max or any modelling program and save your models with the .3ds. Then, download and use 3ds2vxl to convert your model into voxel.

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Question: How do I convert W3D models into VXL files, without 3ds Max?

Answer: There is no public tool that does it yet.

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Question: How do I get a map editor for Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2?

Answer: At our left menu, go to Tiberian Sun -> Starting Tools to download FinalSun. FinalAlert can be downloaded at Red Alert 2 -> Starting Tools.

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Question: How do I add units to FinalSun or Final Alert?

Answer: Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 maps can be also opened with WordPad and other text editors. You can place your units in the top of the files and they work in the same way than they do in rules.ini. Declare them first in a [VehicleTypes] if it's a vehicle... [InfantryTypes] if it's infantry, etc... and then, post the code of your unit below just as you do in rules.ini. New art.ini tags cannot be declared in the map, so you can only use the graphics used by the game or your mod.

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Question: How do I hack the executable files so I can add new features to the game?

Answer: Download the C&C Executable Modifier to do the changes that are already known by the community. If you wanna do a change that is not listed there, do not waste your time, unless you are really an expert with assembly. And if you asked how to hack the executable, you probably have no clue with that. The learning curve of this operation is extremely high and time that people take to study the game executable from both games takes several months or years. So, attempting to learn it is highly discouraged and it will only bring you frustrations. However, there are easier means to make use of new features. You can use also pre-made patches such as  NPatch and old RockPatch or you can modify Ares, which injects C++ code into the game. But even Ares is quite hard to deal with and pre-made patches should be enough for most modders.

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Question: My game crashes when I loaded a saved game with my mod. How do I solve this savegame bug from Tiberian Sun?

Answer: To avoid the savegame bug you have to keep the rules.ini Animations list in its original state and copy all animations from firestrm.ini into rules.ini and add them to the end of the rules.ini animations list after 707=INVISO. After these you can then add your new animations.

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Generals Modding Questions:

Question: How do I view the W3D files?

Answer: Use the W3D Viewer from Renegade Public Tools

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Question: Is it possible to edit W3D files?

Answer: You can use a W3D importer to import it on 3ds max (with some data loss) and use the most recent Mod SDK to export it. Note that the W3D Viewer included on both Renegade Tools and Mod SDK is able to modify certain aspects of the W3D file, but not the model and textures.

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Question: How do I view the BIG files?

Answer: Use the  OS BIG Editor latest beta to view, extract files, create and edit .BIG files.

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Command & Conquer 3 and Red Alert 3 Modding Questions:

Question: How do I view the BIG files?

Answer: Use the  OS BIG Editor latest beta to view, extract files, create and edit .BIG files.

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Question: How do you create maps?

Answer: Grab the World Builder for C&C3. You must have the game installed in your machine to run it. Make a good read of the manual before using it, because this tool is not intuitive.

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Question: I've made a map, but it doesn't appear in the multiplayer/skirmish menu. Why?

Answer: Make sure that, in the Edit -> Map Settings. Is Multiplayer Scenario is not checked. Also, make sure that the size of the map border (you can view it in the File -> Resize) is equal or bigger than 30 feets.

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Posted by Banshee
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