Digging into the Initiation Station

There is a ton of game data in the Initiation Station to look at, and it’s been really interesting poking around in it. We’ve all been pretty surprised at just how much information from the full game that Volition has left in.

I’m currently working on getting the extended (heh) sex appeal slider morphs working in lua. Unfortunately, I hit a compression problem with the str2_pc format and its repacking so it’s not possible to test out my scripting changes (for the moment.) After some investigation, it’s also looking like the debug clothing store that is loading for the demo does have every single piece of clothing available that are in the files. Things like the Space Suit and the rest of the missing clothes are likely going to have to wait for the full release on 11/15.

27 Responses to “Digging into the Initiation Station”

  1. Proto/type of Insan.ity says:

    Right there is that space suit huh? Any chance you can release a mod or tut on how to do the same?

  2. JorgeYahoo says:

    Damn.

    Does this mean you’ll still put out a Clothing Mod for the IS?

    Or that it IS in fact possible to get made available what isn’t already there, to use?

    I’m looking forward to it :/

  3. JorgeYahoo says:

    Sorry for the double comment but.

    If you have to wait for the full release of SR3 to get all the clothing available in the IS, then that’s fine too.

    You make the mod (or mods) and I’ll download em! :3

    • IdolNinja says:

      If it doesn’t exist in the files then there’s nothing we can do except wait for the full game. I can’t say with 100% certainty either way, but it looks like the debug clothing store already is using everything available in the files.

      • Adrock4 says:

        Dunno if this helps or not, but there’s stuff in the interface.vpp_pc file that refers to the space suit and whatnot.

        • IdolNinja says:

          @Adrock4
          The problem is that most of the scripting in interface.vpp_pc are contained in streaming files (str2_pc) and we can’t repack these yet or else the game just crashes. So I can’t test anything.

          Also, the only reference to the actual suit is a ui peg file which is an unlock reward screen graphic only. We can’t open pegs yet for sr3.

  4. Mr_125 says:

    I’m really curious, and I was thinking about this the other day: People are kind of really upset about the lack of layering, and I’m kind of in the same boat… however, I was also thinking about the Sims 2/3. In its barest form, it has just about the same editor as SR3′s (tops, bottoms, outfits, wrists, jewellery). It’s even more limiting for Sims because separate tops and bottoms that they give you look like ass, all of them, so you’re better off sticking to whole outfits.

    Now, the absolute, number 1 thing the Sims has going for it is the custom content and modding community. It’s staggering how much amazing stuff there is to change the whole look of the game that’s user generated. On any Sims modding site, you can find whole new hairstyles, accessories, objects, clothes… etc., with all new meshes and whatnot. I was wondering, is it that much more difficult to do in Saints Row than the Sims?

    It’s stupidly fun and easy to browse through creations, download and drop into the game folder, then have my Sim all dolled up within a matter of minutes. The thought that Saints Row could be capable of that makes me a little giddy, if it were at all possible.

    • IdolNinja says:

      @Mr_125
      With mesh tools, sure? The lack of a mesh tool is one of the main things holding us back from doing stuff like that.

      • Mr_125 says:

        Ahh. Do you need a specific tool/program to do meshes for SR? As far as I could tell from the tutorials of Sims meshing, they recommend a few programs like GIMP and milkshape. Ah well.

        I had a run through the initiation station today. While there is some cool stuff, it definitely suffers from the lack of layers. I really do like to throw together outfits piecemeal, and not have to settle for a jacket that I like and a shirt underneath that is only okay. Rolling out new clothes (I would suppose in the form of DLC) is the only solution :( .

        Which reminds me, is it at all possible to create more colouring options for items? Hair colours come to mind, and as well, I’d love to take the soldier uniform and make it black. As it stands, only the mag pouch and vest can be coloured.

        • IdolNinja says:

          @Mr_125
          Yes, all of Volition’s files, including meshes, are in a proprietary format that we have to code our own tools for.

          More colors on existing items is not something we could with SR2. While it may be possible on SR3, it’s pretty unlikely.

          • Kyle says:

            We did try this, and I think it’ll certainly be doable to add extra colors into the IS for things. The only problem at the moment seems to be weird lighting. This’ll all be easier to look into once the tools are more fleshed out and we can repack str2_pc files properly.

          • IdolNinja says:

            @Kyle
            You misunderstood. He wants extra sections of clothing to be colorable, not simply extra colors:
            “I’d love to take the soldier uniform and make it black. As it stands, only the mag pouch and vest can be coloured.”

        • Cora says:

          So I’m inferring from what you’re saying that nifskope and the like aren’t working with SR2 meshes/textures/models. Hmm. Wonder if there’s a way to tweak nifskope to handle SR2 using the source files from sourceforge … I saw this link, but haven’t had a chance to really follow up on it (pre-supposing that SR’s stuff is a NIF variation, of course).
          http://niftools.sourceforge.net/wiki/NIF_Format/NifTools_XML_Format

          Hopefully all Volition did was create some kind of variant format, because nif, km, kfm are all pretty gaming-industry model/mesh/texture standards. If it is truly proprietary … hmm… ouch.

  5. Malhavoc says:

    Any chance you guys will be working on extending the Strength/Skinny/Fat triangle? I am interested in making a Hulk look-alike since we get those ridiculously hilarious Apoca-Fists. XD

    • Malhavoc says:

      I am a retard and didn’t see the Alpha release of the sliders further down. Checked it out and it seems to be a step towards what I am hoping for when you release the full version. Keep up the great work dude!

  6. KoRn says:

    hey, do you guys know if sr3 is steam activated? (i.e if i was to buy a hard copy it would need steam)

  7. Happysuns84 says:

    Hey Idol ninja, like Mr125 I am so mad with Violation about the lack of clothing currently available in SRTT IS. But my question to you is this I know they said 20% is not in but you know games they always use broken math (as they did when they said you can make the char of your dreams even though you cant. TBH “you can make the char of your dreams” fits better in GOTR) But to my question, when you were file digging was it really 20%+ more clothing that is yet to be unlocked or just a measly 5 like I am fearing?

    • IdolNinja says:

      @Happysuns84
      None of the extra clothing is in the IS as far as I can tell, so nobody can say for sure except Volition and those with review copies. I can tell you with some certainty that there will be no other character customization options in the full game. Walks, facial expressions, wear options, variants (different clothing materials), and certain layers (socks, undershirts, overshirts, coats) were definitely cut according to a very reliable source.

      I’m just as disappointed about this as everyone else, especially after hearing promises about how much more robust the customization was. It’s a huge step backwards for the series. I’m just hoping the core gameplay makes up for it, and that we’ll be able to mod some of these things back in.

      • Happysuns84 says:

        Oh totally dude . It is highly disappointing indeed. They really let us all down (those of us who live to create characters) especially those of us who do machinima

        I am totally counting on you guys. One of the only reason’s I am going to invest a tough 50 bucks into it (getting PC version), is cause I know you guys will make it better anyway you guys can, I appreciate it.

      • Cora says:

        That seems to be a trend in gaming. Dragon Age: Origins, for example, had various diverse combos of armors/clothes and you could customize your own (even vanilla) armor sets. DA2, went to the “single mesh covers all sins” armor/clothing concept, as it seems SR3 is, and other games have. Somehow I think maybe some devs’ itty-bitty feewings got hurt by the talent pool amongst modders maybe? Just a theory. :)

        I’ve read on mod forums about the separation of mesh issues. Ugh. My experience has been limited and of the follow-along-with-this-guru-modder-tutorial sort. While it gave me a lot of appreciation of what goes into 3D models, meshes and textures, I can’t even begin to imagine taking a one-piece non-layered mesh and separating them. Most likely the original source files exist at Volition, but you can bet your next paycheck they aren’t going to release those to the community. But modding communities tend to be filled with lots of bright and talented folks, and like with NWN2, DA2 and others, I’m sure someone will figure it out. The “proprietary format” issue is a bit troubling though… I wonder if it is truly that, or is it just renaming some existing model/mesh format extention and maybe an internal file header change? Just conjecturing…

  8. Kyle says:

    hmmm anyway of moving the models over to sr2?

    • IdolNinja says:

      @Kyle
      Different engine. Different format. We would need some kind of conversion or mesh tool to do so. After two years of work on sr2 we still don’t have that mesh format figured out. It’s not something that is likely to happen soon.

      • Cora says:

        oooo … so maybe it is truly something proprietary, and that’s makes it all the harder as you say. I’ll look if I get a chance, but honestly, binary/hex stuff makes my head hurt. lol (Why God didn’t give programmers 16 fingers I haven’t figured out yet…)

  9. Thomas Lyons says:

    Any chance you could implement a way to toggle the supersliders within the game? Right now I have to revalidate the Steam files if I want to create a normal looking character. Or perhaps you could extend the sliders without making them more sensitive. For example, the default for all of the sliders would be 0 and the extremes would be at 100 and -100. For randomization, it would only select random values between -50 and 50 so that the random characters don’t end up always looking screwed up and basically unusable.

    • IdolNinja says:

      @Thomas Lyons
      Why revalidate? Just build a new patch without them selected.

      Unfortunately, extending the ranges by something like, say, -150 to 150 is simply not possible. Even if it was, it would end up breaking things like clothing. The optional super sliders are simply the very best implementation we can currently make them.

  10. Cora says:

    I found this nugget on the SR3 forum (V-Singular is a moderator there and tied to Volition somehow, though I didn’t really look for the exact tie-in):

    The changes made to character creation were not made lightly (or without heavy discussion)

    Ultimately it comes down to the differences in how NPCs are created in SR2 vs SR3

    in SR2 all of the peds shared a skeleton with the player. this meant that any asset that you saw on a ped could pretty much be used by the player, and indeed, pedestrians were pretty much created using our player creation tool. The shared skeleton approach was not without its share of problems though.

    In SR3 our peds are individually modeled, not assembled via paper doll. As a result they look better and take less memory (Which lets us have more peds on the screen at one time than SR2). Also we use multiple skeletons, which lets us get better animations since we dont have to always account for the lowest common denominator. The downside of this is that we no longer had a one stop shop where a ped asset also instantly became a player customization asset, which meant we had less time to create clothes for the player. And because we used a totally new engine, we were starting from scrath there was no reusing SR2 assets and we were starting from square one (SR2 benefitted tremendously from reuse that we simply could not do on three)

    The change in skeletons is also why there is no gender slider in SR3, when you select male or female, we are actually swapping out the skeleton as opposed to just changing cosmetics.

    I miss layers too. They were awesome. But at the end of the day both combat and the feeling of walking around the city is better for this decision, not only becuase things look better visually, but because there are more people for you to **** with.

    That all being said, there are some AMAZING things that people have built with the IS, and ive lost tons of hours going through the gallery to look at them all (to say nothing of the time i spend making my own creations)