Moo... Moo... I'm a Troika cow.
Amtut Tutorial
Arcanum Modules

News: Tuesday, 22nd April 2008

Minor Fixes

Wow. Has it really been 4 years? I've had this sitting around for ages and only now noticed half of the stuff I link to wasn't working.

Okay, so maybe I knew most of it hasn't been working for a while but I finally had the motivation to do something about it. I've dug up everything I linked to that was broken and fixed it. So poke around and you should find things work.

I also realise the tutorial disappeared off google because I never bothered setting up the amtut subdomain. So I've moved it here to this subdirectory on Terra-Arcanum where it can live out the end of its days.

And if you need help, ask in the Modding and Scripting forums.

News: Wednesday, 12th May 2004


I'm pulling this site down. In order to update Amtut and do everything else I want to do with it, I'll be moving it over to Terra-Arcanum >> the World of Troika Games.

You'll notice that the downloads, resources and modules sections are now re-directs to the Terra Arcanum downloads page. This is because the downloads are now available from there (since they disappeared off this site a long time ago).

When I finally get around to moving Amtut over as well, I'll replace this entire site with a re-direct. Hope to see you over at Terra-Arcanum soon. By the way, I highly recommend using a pop-up blocker (or Mozilla Internet Browser) otherwise you'll be inundated with pop-ups. Sorry, but that's what you get for free hosting now-a-days.

News: Sunday, 19th October 2003

The Return of Amtut / Broken Links

Broken Links: Sorry about the broken links. My old freeyellow server changed, so any download like this:

You should be able to change to this:

... and it should work.

For example: http://darkunderlord.freeyellow.com/downloads/WorldEd_1070.zip
Right click and save as and that'll be WorldEd 1070.

NOTE: The filenames are case sensitive. So lowercase "worlded_1070.zip" will give you an error 404.

The Return of Amtut: In other more exciting news, I am now on the staff of Terra Arcanum. I'm working with the Admin team over there to give the site an overhaul and update the content. Part of that overhaul (among other things) will include moving Amtut and all my files from here over to Terra Arcanum and continuing to work on Arcanum modding tutorials.

Take note that this may take a while (possibly up to three months or more) to do so it will be quite some time before Amtut even begins to be updated. Until then, take heart that while Arcanum is still an old game, I may very well finish Amtut for all those who still have it. When the move happens, I'll leave a page here so that you'll know where to go.

By the way, don't e-mail me. My hotmail.com account is now spammed to buggery and it takes too much time to sift through all the crap. From now on, if you want to get into to contact with me, post a message in the Terra Arcanum forums. The Modding & Scripting Forum will be the one you want to go for.

News: Wednesday, 11th June 2003

Amtut is as finished as it ever will be.

A long, long time ago now, a game called "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura" was released. It was one of the first Computer Role-Playing Games to be released with it's editing tools. The intention was that a bustling community would pop-up making modules for others to play. Unfortunately, while the editing tools were released with the game, they didn't have any documents (regardless of what it said in the manual). As such, the modding forums were flooded with newbie questions like "How do I scroll" (took me two hours to figure out that one :) ), "How do I build" and so on.

At that time, I thought it would be a good idea to create a document in order to fill the void. The Arcanum Module Making Tutorial (AMTUT) was born. An ambitious project started in October 2001, the goal was to create a tutorial that would take beginning, hopeful modders by the hand and lead them into the world of Arcanum Module Making. At the end of that journey, they would be able to develop complex and intriguing modules on their own, only asking for assistance on rare occasions.

To a certain extent, that goal was achieved. Simple questions like scrolling were answered and the questions became more and more complex. "How do I make a quest" became the most commonly asked of those. I soldiered on. Slowly (very slowly) releasing each part of Amtut, covering new issues and in the long run, creating new problems (no thanks to the release of another Arcanum patch which changed WorldEd). Eventually however, the official WorldEd Manual v1.0 was released. It answered almost every question. While it certainly is no beginners guide, it did help a lot of us work out a few things, like making blessings and curses for starters.

At that time, the decision was made to continue with Amtut. As time went on however, it became more and more of a struggle to write. Eventually leading to a two month writers block when I got up to trying to explain how to make a quest. Essentially, I gave up. I worked on my own module for a time, as well as starting work on "Arcanum Poker". Amtut kept nagging at me however and eventually, I got around to updating part 1 into version 1.1, fixing the confusion caused by the latest Arcanum patch (1074) and explaining how to work around it, if you so chose. I then realised that a substantial amount of Amtut had to be re-written. Chapters needed to be moved around and things that I had written in as I learned them needed to be explained earlier. That chapter on Terrain that doesn't mention the "Edit Terrain" button also had to be completely revamped, especially that laughable mention of weeding entire sectors by hand. It has to be removed and the easier way (edit terrain) explained in its place.

The problem is, as I worked on the new plan for Amtut Version 2.0, I realised my initial problem still existed. How do you explain to someone how to make a quest? How do you explain that a simple quest can take up to 3 weekends of trial and error before you get the script to work the way you want? How do you explain scripting to people who have no programming experience? I realised the answer. I can't. It is beyond my abilities to explain to a complete beginner how to not only write complex dialogue using all the dialogue codes and result and test fields, but to also tie that in to several scripts that actually make that particular quest work. Especially when most of the answers can be found, albeit rather descriptively, in the WorldEd manual. As such, I not only lack the time for such a mammoth task, but also the desire.

It is because of those reaons that I say the following. Amtut is as finished as it's ever going to be. While I would very much like to continue work on it and while I would enjoy seeing it finished one day, the reality is, I simply can't do it. I have a full-time job. I have a social life. I have other things that I'd like to do (like playing around with the Fallout editors). I'd also like a chance to work on my own modules at some point in time. As such, Amtut is done. While I've only achieved one quarter of what I set out to achieve, I have inspired some people to take up modding who otherwise wouldn't. I hope that what I have done has also enabled people to at least read the WorldEd Manual, even if it seems confusing at first, and then to have a go at making some things themselves, with a bit of intuition and time-consuming trial and error. If you can't be bothered to read the WorldEd Manual, then I'm sorry, I can't be bothered with you.

- Things Modders Need to Know.
Sometime in the future, I may come back to Amtut, though I sincerely doubt it. By that time Arcanum will well and truly be an old game, most likely super-seeded by other RPGs with their own modding tools. It is with that in mind that I leave this work here. Hoping to one day finish it while people are still playing Arcanum, although I doubt that will happen very much. With all of that said, I'll leave you with some final helpful words.

There are only two script programs you should ever think about using.
- The official SockMonkey ScriptMaker that came with Arcanum.
- DjUnique's ScriptEd, which can be found here: scripted_beta_26.zip (466 kb)
All other script editing programs cause problems. They can't handle numbers properly. Any scripts made with them are unlikely to work. I highly recommend DjUnique's ScriptEd. Keep in mind it does require you to know what you're doing though.

Like scripts, there are only dialogue 2 dialogue editing tools you should ever consider using.
- Any simple text editor. Notepad, Wordpad or any program that can save simple text files with a ".dlg" extension.
- The other one to use is Zammy's dialogue editor, found here: dlgedit2.zip (385 kb)
Other script-editing programs don't let you alter all the test or result fields, which is necessary if you ever want to make a quest.

Be sure to read these documents to help with your modding.
- Arcanum Module Making Tutorial.
- Zammy's World Map Tutorial.
- The WorldEd Manual.
Those three documents will help you understand almost everything there is to know about creating an Arcanum module. Anything else will require a lot of trial and error (which is what I do with my own module all the time). If you ever hit a brick wall with modding though, be sure to ask in one of the still surviving Arcanum modding forums (I recommend the Modding & Scripting Forum at Terra-Arcanum)

- Thank you and Goodbye.
To finally wrap this long news post up, I would like to thank the following people for helping me out while I was working on Amtut:
* Yeldrig Yar for putting on the web his initial work on WorldEd (that's way back when I started modding) and for being the one who figured out "The Yeldrig Manouver - The one where you change the graphic to unknown, and then get to pick any graphic from any category".
* R_Scott_Dersheimer for all of his answers on the VN-Arcanum Mods Board (when it was still active).
* ChrisBeddoes for a lot of his answers in the old VN-Arcanum Mods Board as well as those in the Sierra WorldEd Forum.
* DjUnique for making his wonderful ScriptEd and Dialogue Testing Programs. YOU ARE A GOD!
* Zammy for being the first one to discover that you CAN make a WorldMap and for writing the first tutorial about it.
* Dgale for writing his brief tutorial on how to make a good looking World Map (found somewhere in the official Sierra WorldEd Forum) as well as for compiling the complete Facades index, with pictures. I'd also like to thank him for the short-lived hosting of Amtut on his server.
* HexRei for his Tutorial explaining how to use the "Q:" generated dialogue option.
* Otto Krup for his further work on DKoepp's Hex Editing info.
* Cosmoschtroumpf for undertaking the task of translating Amtut into French (I wish you luck!).
* Calis of www.terra-arcanum.com for hosting me for a while as well as for putting up with me.
* SkywarkTheJobber for the suggestion of the Part 5 title "Hanging Yourself with the Ropes", even though Part 5 may now never be written.
* All of those that I've missed who at some point in time offered suggestions, tips and good ideas (Sorry, I lost your e-mails and I can't remember the names of everyone who offered a suggestion).
* Everyone who sent me thank you e-mails. They warmed the cockles of my heart and made me realise that this was all worthwhile. :)
* Most importantly, Troika Games for making Arcanum and even more importantly that that, for making and releasing the mod tools :) (Any chance we could have some art tools released now, please? :) )
* To you, for reading Amtut and finding it useful.
* And finally, to that idiot over at the NMA Forums who first pointed me in the way of Arcanum with his non-sensical ramblings about how it was a "sequel" to Fallout. Sheesh... Some people gotta learn...

Moo... Moo... I'm a Troika cow.

News: Wednesday, 25th September 2002

New Tutorials, Modules & Tools

I've been meaning to update this site for about 2 weeks now, I've been a bit busy lately (unfortunately, not working on an Arcanum module). There are a few changes today, a few new tutorials, an updated modules page and some new Arcanum tools for you to check out.

Tutorials: Check the Amtut Tutorial section for two new tutorials. Arcanum Undat Tutorial takes you through the process of using two dat tools (Troika's and Arcanun) to undat a ".dat" file, so that you can load it in WorldEd Version 1070. Arcanum Follower Tutorial, written by ruelz, gives you a walkthrough guide on how you can make your own followers for your Arcanum modules.

Modules: I finally updated the Arcanum Modules page to include the 19 (yes, 19) Arcanum modules that have been released thus far (seeing as most people seem to find this site by looking for Arcanum Modules). There's also a link to the Terra-Arcanum Mod Review forum which will let you give your opinion on the module once you've played it, as well as check out reviews for the other modules. At the moment, there are no reviews (I only just created the threads) so if you've played any of the Arcanum modules, be sure to review them.

Tools: DjUnique has made 2 new tools. DAT Builder extracts files from Arcanum DAT files and also is able to create them. The interface is similar to WinZip and PowerArchiver (not 100% though) and should make DAT file management a lot easier than with Troika's dbmaker. MesEdit is pretty straight forward, it simply lets you edit .mes files.

News: Sunday, 4th August 2002

Modding Tools

Yes, I'm still here. I'm just quietly modding :) I thought it was time I uploaded the Arcanum tools I use, seeing as a few of you have been asking about them.

Arcaun v1: A graphical undat utility. Let's you extract files from compressed module ".dat" files. This is version 1, not the latest version, I actually got a few errors with the latest version for some odd reason. For some reason the old version works better for me.
Download: arcanun_v1.zip (1.39 mb)

dbmaker: Troika's own dat and undat utility. A DOS based program that let's you create and extract Arcanum ".dat" files.
Download: dbmaker.zip (49 kb)

Art2bmp: If you undat a few of the official Arcanum ".dat" files, you'll find some ".art" files. Use this program to convert those files to ".bmp" files.
Download: art2bmp.zip (82 kb)

Zammy's Dialogue Editor: The only dialogue editor you should be using (Unless you're like me and you prefer Notepad :) ). All others simply don't let you add all the options and check all the dialogue conditions.
Download: dlgedit2.zip (385 kb)

DjUnique's Dialogue Debugger v1.1.0.8: Getting sick and tired of running Arcanum, waiting for it to load, loading your module then testing out a dialogue file only to find an error, quit, fix the error and then load it all again? Use this instead. Fire it up, load a dialogue file and run it. Let's you run through a dialogue file, testing conditions as you go.
Download: dlgdebugbeta.zip (431 kb)

DjUnique's Script Editor Beta v2.6: If you hate SockMonkey (like me), then use this. The only fan-made script editor that can handle ALL the script conditions and actions properly. Let's you add comments to your scripts and is text based, meaning if you're a real hard-core scripter, you can type everything in by hand. Of course, you can use the menus to insert functions if that's what you want.
Download: scripted_beta_26.zip (466 kb)

Click here for the News Archive.

Copyright notice: A lot of the pictures on this site have been... Erm.. "borrowed" without permission from their owners. Some of the pictures have also been mucked around with by me, DarkUnderlord, to make them fit on the page. As a result, the owners of those images could probably sue me for millions of dollars. If the owners do wish to sue me, could they please give me ample notice so that I may flee to Mexico.

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