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Modding & Maps
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Topic Subject: Assembly Kit user guide
posted 04-06-14 11:51 PM EDT (US)   
From here
Step 1
GETTING THE ASSEMBLY KIT

Go into your Steam "Library", in the dropdown select "Tools".

Scroll down to the "Total War: Rome II - Assembly Kit", right click it and install.


Step 2
THE TOOLS YOU'LL WORK WITH

You'll be working with two programs primarily, TWeak and BOB.
(BOB stands for 'Build On One Button', and should theoretically be called BOOB. I don't know why it isn't and personally it upsets me that it isn't.)

The executables are located in the "Total War Rome II\assembly_kit\binaries" folder and are named:
TWeak.AssemblyKit.exe
BOB.AssemblyKit.exe

You'll be using TWeak to do the editing, for example editing a units stats.
You'll be using BOB to create the .pack file of your mod.


Step 3
THE WORKFLOW

The workflow may seem daunting at first, but it is very simple once you understand it. For those of you who have used the PFM to mod before, a lot of the principles are very similar, but in some ways reversed.
With the PFM you usually select what files are going in your pack, then you edit them, save pack. With the Assembly Kit you edit the files you need to in TWeak, then in BOB you select the files to go into your pack.

The main idea is you edit raw data with TWeak. By raw data I mean XML files that hold all of the games database. This is then turned into working data. This working data is then turned into .pack files by BOB.

Put simply:
Raw Data -> Your Editing Happens -> Then You Export Working Data -> You Build Your Pack -> You Now Have Your Mod (.pack file) -> Upload Mod -> MODDING GLORY AWAITS


Step 4
USING TWeak

Start by opening up TWeak.AssemblyKit.exe, you'll noticed a big blank grey screen, with a menu strip at the top.

The only dropdown useful to us is "Tools". You'll get a DirectX choice for the tools rendering, largely unimportant. You'll now see DAVE, and you'll see the Variant Editor.

DAVE, DAtabase Visual Editor, is the tool most will be using, it's the tool that let's us do the most common modding, editing the database.

Select DAVE from the dropdown, you'll be greeted by a message asking if you'd like to connect to the database, this is the database (the raw data) that you'll be working from, all stored on you're local harddrive. Select Yes to continue.

We're now connected to our local database, and you'll notice a secondary menu strip has appeared at the top of the form, this is DAVE.
Connection allows us to connect/disconnet from the database, unimportant.
View is where we'll access the various sub elements of DAVE, allowing us to do different types of editing.
Export allows us to export a database element from the raw data, into our working data.
Extra Tasks and Options, are largely unneeded for us at this stage, ignore them.

View -> Table Launcher: This will open up a window that allows you to select a database table to edit.
View -> Query Launcher: This again will open a window that allows you to select a database table to edit, but your options here are based around data that will be stored in a .esf file.
View -> Form Launcher: This will allow you to access the many sub-tools within DAVE that provide a GUI to easily edit database tables, such as a building editor.

For now we'll use a simple example to illustrate a common use of these tools, we'll edit a units stats, and create a mod pack with these changes. In this example we'll change Romes Praetorian Guard unit to have 99 morale.

1- In TWeak open the table launcher, find the database table that contains unit stats, it's land_units. Double click the table to open it.
2- Now our table is open, you can see a familiar database UI environment. Scroll down and locate the Rom_Praetorian_Guard unit, scroll across the columns and edit their morale to be 99.
3- Now we've made our changes to this table, we need to apply them. At the top of this table form, click the "Apply" button. You'll noticed the status bar at the bottom of the program notes our change.
"17:15:18> Value for record 'Rom_Praetorian_Guard' ({8da7b901-cb9a-4038-a287-3905a99f99b2}) in table 'land_units' has been changed from '70' to '99'."
4- Our raw data has now been edited, you can go check the raw data yourself and see the change in the land_units.xml file. We now need to export our edits to working data.
5- Select the "Export" menu strip item at the top, then select "Export Single Table(s)". You'll now get a new form pop up, this is where we'll select what tables we're using.
6- You'll notice a handy listbox that contains the tables we've edited, you should select the tables you've edited from here, we'll select (double click) land_units. It should appear in the right most listbox now. You can then go ahead and click "Export" in the bottom right of this form, to export our selected tables.
7- BOB now exports our table from our raw data XML files, and puts it into our working data set. It is now also in binary form, ready to go into a pack file. Our work in TWeak is done, this is now where we need to switch to BOB. (See below)


Step 5
USING BOB

Oh no, not another tool?! Don't worry, you won't believe how easy BOB is to use. If you're making a mod, then at this stage you're literally 99% of the way there.

Open up BOB.AssemblyKit.exe, you'll be greeted by three tree view controls. One showing us our raw data, one showing our working data and one showing our retail files (essentially the .packs).

BOB is the tool that takes our raw data and turns it into working data (binary files) which we can then put in our packs. This is almost always done through TWeak and autonomously done by BOB, however it can be done manually, it is however highly suggested to do so via TWeak's export feature so much so as I won't explain it here as there is no point. TWeaks export function is much more intuitive and will allow you to easily recognize what DB tables you actually need to export by highlighting the ones you've edited.

At this point if you have BOB open, you've usually got some working data you want turned into a pack. BOB stands for Build On One Button.. and while you may require more than 1 click, you'll now see why BOB is an accurately named tool, as you'll only ever be pressing one button.

We'll continue on from Step 7 above in the TWeak section to show how we'd go about turning our working data into a finished mod.

8- Currently we have in our working data folder the database table land_units, it should be noted at this point that we also have a localization file in there too, we didn't do this personally, but this file gets created when we export the land_units table, it simply contains the localization (text) file containing the names of the units in the table (Note the name field in the table). We want to put our working data into a .pack file. We want a retail file (a .pack file), so go to the retail tree view control and select the mod.pack file.
9- Now we have the file selected that we want created, we can press "Start" in the bottom right to let BOB do his thing, and build us our mod pack.
10- Providing no errors, now in our "Total War Rome II\assembly_kit\retail\data" folder we can find our finished mod.pack file! It contains all of the working data that we exported from our raw data that we edited in TWeak.
Simply put in this pack file is a database table with our Praetorian unit that has 99 morale.

Congratulations you've now made you're very first Mod with the Assembly Kit. This is just the basics and there are many more possibilities to explore, so go forth and mod!


Finally
A FINAL BIT OF ADVICE

-In terms of developing a mod, the Assembly Kit is much more capable and fluid tool than the PFM (in my opinion). It will do things that you maybe didn't think of and do things that will save you a lot of time. That said it's always worth noting that with a more complex tool, there are more things to go wrong (or more accurately that you didn't predict).
You can't look at a finished .pack file with the Assembly Kit, like you can with the PFM, you can't edit an existing pack file, it's very much a one way street. So I'd always advise you to open you're mod up in the PFM afterwards just to make sure that all the files are in there that need to be, and there aren't any files in there that you don't want!

-Developing separate mods with this toolset isn't easy. When you edit a file in TWeak, it's edited in the raw data, and that's where you draw all of the data from for future mods. A new/fresh mod will require you to either validate the tools files in Steam to acquire the originals, or for you to keep a backup of your raw data folder from which you can reinstate the originals if you want to start a new mod.
Now you can edit the unit stats for yourself and make battles as long as you like Definitely going to do that for myself.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Replies:
posted 04-08-14 08:06 AM EDT (US)     1 / 1  
*Rubs hands together in glee*

Excellent... I have much planned if I can find the time to do it among my real life commitments.
Total War: Rome 2 Heaven » Forums » Modding & Maps » Assembly Kit user guide
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