Directory Organization and Introduction

Introduction to Modding

As the development of Fleet Operations advances, so the need for a modding guide grows as well. Though this guide will probably never be complete, and will always need updates, it should still help new and advanced modders alike to better understand the new material found in Fleet Ops. Before the dissection and later modding begins, please take time to read the notes, and check out the resource page.

Although anything you do yourself belongs to you, the rights to the game and the models do not. Please respect the property of others. Models you download should not be edited without their owner’s permission, and no mods should be released unless proper permission is acquired. Credit should be given for anything that you did not do yourself. If you are unsure about editing and releasing things already in FO, be sure to read the Modding Guidelines laid out by Optec.

A note about general editing: make sure before editing any files that they are not read-only. This is fixed by right clicking on the main Fleet Operations’ folder, clicking the properties button, and unchecking the Read-Only box. Make sure that this applies to all subfolders, otherwise you won’t be able to save your work.

Editing Text Files

If you wish to edit any ODFs (Object Definition Files) or the Dynamic Localized Strings, you will need a file editor for these text based files. Notepad will work but it is not recommended too highly for editing the Dynamic Localized Strings file. Notepad works fine for most other editing, including ODFs. Wordpad will also work and is better to use than Notepad. Other text editors are available too and have many more features than either of the aforementioned standard Windows text editors. One of the better ones is Notepad++, as it is free and allows you to have several documents open at the same time, as well as search through all open documents, replace the same statement in all open documents, save all documents. It will also keep the open documents in tabs and will reopen them after closing the program.

Although at the moment all ships, weapons, and stations are in .odf, but in fact text files do not just have to be referenced as .odf (or .spr for sprites or .tt for techtrees). If you do not want to use .odf, you can easily choose your own file type. .odf is default, so in most cases it does not need to be referred to, yet new file types need to be referred to. In other words {builtItem0 = "fsout"} uses the file “fscout.odf”, where {builItem0 = "fscout.ship"} uses the file “fscout.ship”.

When editing text files, note that commented lines are automatically ignored by the Armada II engine. Comments are lines proceeded by a "#" or "//". Depending on the type of file that is used, either one of these symbols for commenting might be used.

Text files can be saved in .odf, .h, .tt - any text file format at all - simply by saving it as such. In other words, if you have made a new ship and you want to save it as an ODF, simply save the file as "{my_ship}.odf".

To see the file extensions, go to Control Panel, switch to Icons view, click Folder Options. Find the List of Checkboxes tab. Then uncheck Hide File Extensions.

The Fleet Operations' Directory

First you will need to locate your Fleet Operations’ Directory. The Default location is found in C:\Program Files\Activision\Star Trek Armada II Fleet Operations

When you open this folder, it will look like this.

First a few basics about this folder, which are common knowledge.

First, the FleetOps.exe

This is the game Application that you run to play the game.

The FOreadme.txt is an important piece of information that can be used to find out more information about your current version of FO.

The other files and folders are important, but not for modding. The only one you really need to worry about is the Data folder.

This is the folder where all basic modding will take place.

Identifying the Folders

Next you should open that all important Data Folder. This is what it will contain.

Again we will have a look at what some of these folders and files are for.

The Addon folder has to do with making collision boxes (the zone in which other vessels cannot travel) that are of a different size than the original model. In other words, you put a remade SOD of a unit in the SOD folder (perhaps you want to cut off the top or remove some other pieces that block traffic) to handle collision, and you will put the original "real SOD" (the visual one that appears in-game) in the addon folder. Basically you put the SOD in that folder of what you want an object to look like, and a SOD of a different shape in the SOD folder to handle collision. The SODs for both have to have the same name. This can thus be used to set different collision boxes for the AI versus the player (to make it easier for the AI which isn't intelligent per se). If you don't care about collision boxes you don't need to put anything in the addon folder.

The AI folder contains the AI (the computer controlled) build lists, personality parameters, and formations.

If you add a buildable ship or station that you want the AI to use, you will need to understand how to edit these files.

The Bitmaps folder holds all of the ship images, menu images, race logos, and buttons. This can be important if you add a ship, and want to add a ship image for the post-game Admiral's Log.

The BZN folder holds the maps and their associated files.

The Misc folder holds the GUI configuration files.

The ODF folder as of Fleet Ops 3.2.3 is contained within the ODF.fpq archive file. It contains all the ship, station, and weapon Object Definition Files. This is one of the most important folders you will need to know about, and this is where you will do the most modding. The ODF.fpq archive can be opened using the FPQEdit.exe, which will allow you to select and load the ODF.fpq file. ODF files can be extracted to allow easier manipulation as well. More information about these features can be found here.

The SOD folder contains all the 3D objects (without textures)

The Sounds folder…duh

The Sprites folder contains all the weapon and User Interface sprite entries. These are used to tell the game how to use certain textures, such as how big to make a button, and what texture to use.

The Techtree folder contains the techtrees. These are used to tell the game what needs to be researched or built in order for a specific item to be accessed.

The Textures folder contains all the textures.

That’s all of the folders in the directory.

This file is the original Armada II application and it still works.

The ART_CFG.h file contains, among other things, the information about how ships break apart (such as fragment velocities), and how certain things look, and act in the game.

This Dynamic_localized_Strings.h file contains the text that appears in-game, such as tooltips, and alerts.

The Events.dat file is essentially a relay. It uses labels that are mentioned in ODFs to assign a sound or string to them.

The file is used to map hotkeys, in-game buttons that are pressed, and debugging tools.

The file contains the text for buttons and menus that are in-game and out.

Lastly, the RTS_CFG.h file contains all sorts of global gameplay, AI and interface settings including modifying AI / human player handicaps and changing the maximum zoom and map height.