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Thorium

Why there are only a few mods existing, the answer

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Thorium    15

Hi,

from time to time I take a look at this forum and I go to old posts to see if there is something interessting.

 

I found this thread: http://darkmatters.org/forums/index.php?/topic/22163-shocked-lack-of-mod-support-for-sacred-1/

The question is actualy very interessting and I can answer it with a lot of detail.

 

I have a lot of insight because I was part of a coding crew named SacredVault. We made tools for Sacred Underworld.

 

intentional barriers to prevent modding

As stated allready by many others. Sacred was hard to create mods for. This was part because of it was made without mod support in mind.

But thats not the whole story. The developers actualy build in functions to hinder modding.

 

A good example of such a barrier that was intentionaly made by the game developers is that editing the text that appear in the game is not doable without extensive reverse engineering. Because believe it or not they encrypted the file and hidden it inside sacred.exe.

The file in question in global.res. The file is in the installation directory but is never loaded by the game. Instead it decrypts a encrypted binary ressouce embedded in the ressource section of sacred.exe. Thats the real global.res with all the text of the game.

It's actualy a very simple encryption.

Let me see if I still know it from memory: It encrypts 2 bytes at a time with xor and rotates the key by a fixed number every iteration, I think the rotation was +1 or +2. Also the last decrypted 2 bytes become the key for the next 2 bytes. I may be wrong with the rotation. The rest is pretty acurate I think.

While this is by no means a hard to crack encryption. It's enough to make a modders life hard.

 

As a side node: If you use the unoffical patch 2.29 you dont need to worry about the global.res encryption. I did rewrote the loading procedure, so it actualy does load the unencrypted global.res file from sacreds directory. So, you can easily mod texts if you use 2.29.

 

This is a real example for a intentional barrier that most modders wasnt been able to break.

 

modding was officaly forbidden

It was not allowed to publish any technical infos about Sacred, like file format descriptions.

I even know of cases in which cheat tool developers received letters from ascarons lawyers demanding them to stop publishing there tools. Maybe I can even dig some of that letters up, because the tool developers published the letters on there websites. This is not anecdotal. I saw them first hand.

A lot of modders just didnt wanted to make mods with that in mind.

 

hard to reverse engineer because of high complexity

We (SacredVault) faced a lot of problems, which was not been put into place to specificly make a modders life harder. However they had a very high complexity and would requiere a lot of work to figure out. For example: The script language wasnt just plain lua. It was compiled into byte code, so you can't read it without first understanding how the byte code works and decompile it into a readable script. I dont even know the scripting language they used.

 

bugs, bugs and more bugs

While 2.28 is very much playable and there are no critical bugs left. There are still a lot of bugs. Many of which you will encounter if you try to mod something.

For example for the veteran mod we wanted to basicly make the game a lot harder but also rebalance it in a way to get a more smooth difficulty ramp. The problem with Sacred was that it was easy at the very start, then getting very hard very fast and after a certain threshold becoming easier and easier. So the higher difficultys you unlock get actualy easier to play on.

At some point we gave up our efforts to balance it, because there are bugs plainly preventing a working game balance. For example resistance and damage modifiers for difficulty settings are not working at all. Enemies are supposed to do more damage and have a lot higher resistances in higher difficulty settings than they actualy have in the game.

 

most of the modding effords have been done only in german

This was a mistake I am partially responsible for.

Let me explain: I am a german. The game was made in germany. I was young and I was terribly bad in english. So we started SacredVault actualy as a international coding crew. Everyone could join. While some people believed we were very elitist. It actualy wasnt the case. We took even people without coding skills. One of our most important members didnt had a clue about coding, when he joined. SacredVault was more a familiy, we took nice people we could and wanted to work with. We helped each other, we learned a lot from each other and together we were strong, very strong. Actualy our efforts convinced Ascaron to later change there policy on modding. However at that point it was allready to late. Sorry, I am drifting away...

Back to german only. We had only one US member, who got inactive after the first few days. Later she actualy wend on working for Ascaron. Everyone who was active at the international forums should know her. I am not telling more. ;)

So then we only had german speaking members and I was one of 2 leaders of the crew, and that with my terrible english. So we just did all of our tools in german, we documented in german and we commented our codes in german. Big mistake as I know now. Because I actualy did released infos and modding tools later. However they are only in german. So a lot of modders can't use them.

Today I do all my work in english, so that something like that does not happen again.

 

As a side note: We actualy never wanted to create mods. We wanted to make the tools to make modding possible. The veteran mod was kind of a reference mod, to show and proof that modding for sacred is possible and that one can mod more then the textures.

 

Thats about it.

If you are still interessted in modding Sacred Underworld. There is some info out there and there are some tools out there. I released a lot of stuff but as I mentioned, it's only in german, sorry.

I know of another person who did a lot of reverse engineering about Sacred Underworld: SonicMouse. He had a lot of unpackers and a lot of knowledge. I actualy spoke to him. Well not exactly spoke, but wrote with him on IRC. We actualy got along nice. Even if he did cheating tools and we did anti-cheating tools. We didnt had a problem with each other. He actualy gave me some infos he discovered, knowing that I would use them in my anti-cheat tool.

There are also some other skilled persons out there that did the same mistake as me, they didnt go international. Someone else made another unoffical patch. However he was not german and not from a english speaking country. Unfortunalty I can't tell you more then the pure fact that it exists somewere out there. I dont even know what the fixes are.

 

I hope that was a fun read for some of you and explains why there are not many mods for Sacred Underworld.

Edited by Thorium
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Thorium    15

Another thing: I saw someone mentioning that the modding tools didnt work because of missing ocx files.

The solution is to install the Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Redistributables. Just seach for them on google, you should find a download easily.

Edited by Thorium

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Dragon Brother    412

Interesting insight you give here Thorium.

 

It's definitely a shame that Ascaron were not more open to allowing users to mod Sacred 1 or even 2 as we can see how much interest in the game was generated by the modding done by the CM patch team and later on flix and all other contributors of mods here. Fortunately, Sacred 2 has appears to have been easier to develop new content for than the original game.

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Augmint    67

I was pretty excited for the sacred darkbloods project. Sad nothing came of it.

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Thorium    15

I was pretty excited for the sacred darkbloods project. Sad nothing came of it.

Yeah, I remember them.

Some of the guys from the darkbloods forum came to the SacredVault forum and asked for infos about the game.

The project was way to ambiguous, like adding new enemies. It was very hacky and just overwrote a lot of stuff instead of adding new, if I remember corretly.

Also again, same mistake as I did: It's german only.

The website is still up: http://sacreddarkbloods.0fees.net/#home.html

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Thorium    15

There are also some other skilled persons out there that did the same mistake as me, they didnt go international. Someone else made another unoffical patch. However he was not german and not from a english speaking country. Unfortunalty I can't tell you more then the pure fact that it exists somewere out there. I dont even know what the fixes are.

Actualy, I found it: https://vk.com/club21089257

It's russian.

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HJerk28c    0

Another thing: I saw someone mentioning that the modding tools didnt work because of missing ocx files.

The solution is to install the Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Redistributables. Just seach for them on google, you should find a download easily.

Hello! Help me plz in developing Sacred Char modifer Relaoded. (New interface)

Conact me plz

I'am developing on c#

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