Dragon Age: Inquisition Modding Tools

All about modding tools for Dragon Age: Inquisition
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 Post subject: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:08 pm 
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I just wanted to comment on the whole "no DLC files included" thing.

Yes, some DLC files are included in the main "Patch" folder. It's very difficult to discern what's a DLC file and what's not once it's in the main patch folder.
Is it doable to parse the DLC files NOT in the main patch? The short answer is yes.
Will we include them in the tool? The short answer is no.

The long answer to this "no" is that, technically, exporting Bioware's assets is against the terms of service. It's THEIR stuff. If they wanted to, they could shut us down on that ground. However, they've left us alone so far and seem to tolerate this to some extent. They heavily frown upon exposing DLC content though, especially Multiplayer stuff as this could be used to give an advantage to PVPers (aka allow people to cheat and p*wn you in multiplayer). This could also be used to provide non-DLC owners with items acquired in a DLC which is also a big no no.

I DID try to contact the higher ups (Darrah and Laidlaw) so that we could maybe determine what's in a gray area and what's not but I haven't received a reply. Thus, we will continue to allow the modders to export and view main game content but DLCs will remain on the blacklist.

We also would appreciate that if you see content in the main patch that belongs to a paid DLC and that could be used to cheat in Multiplayer if modified or that could expose DLC assets to non DLC-payers to tell us so that we can also blacklist it.

I know it sucks but the last thing we want is to make Bioware angry and have them take measures against the tool and modders in general. Then, they'd have to put programmers on the task of trying to find ways to block mods instead of having them working on new content. :(

I would hate to see this happen since mods are a VERY cool thing. Some at Bioware might not see this but mods are a beneficial thing to them. They make you wanna play and replay the game. How many times have we started a new game just because someone posted a cool new pajama? :D (I know I did more than once XD) How about, back in the day, when a mod fixed that last stupid mosaic piece? The way I see it, mods are a way to keep your players with you while you're working on new content. It gives us something to do and try out instead of just getting bored with the game and moving on to others (like, say, Witchers 3 XD). I don't know about you but once I move on to an other game, it's very difficult to get me back into it, even with new shiny content. We really wish to remain a positive thing for Bioware and thus, must make some sacrifices.

I hope you all can understand.

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:39 pm 
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So does this mean there won't be any compatibility either? I've been waiting for there to be less bugs between mods and JOH before buying it. BE alone is killing me

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:14 pm 
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Well, dang. Totally understand why you're going that route, and I certainly don't have any better ideas at the moment, but I'd been hoping we might be able to poke around and figure out some of the compatibility issues, as freakshowonwheels noted. Like I said, though, I get why you're doing it this way, and do want to reiterate my thanks for all your work!


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:14 pm 
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Dawn, I see where you're coming from in your reasoning but as it stands, Bioware already tacitly "permits" the modding of DLC assets; both in past Dragon Age games and the Mass Effect series. ME3 has a multiplayer component and we are able to export armours from the multiplayer DLCs and import them into the main game.

The only official word I've read on the subject is that they don't want people extracting paid DLC content and adding it to the main game. For example, if I took the mesh/textures from one of the squad Alternate Appearance packs and used it to replace their default appearance and then uploaded that mod to the Nexus. The Nexus does not allow content like this and Bioware, quite rightly, wouldn't stand for it. They seem to take no issue, however, with a HR retex of a DLC armour because only players that have paid for the content have access to it.

The reason I'm pushing for the inclusion of the ability to mod DLC assets is because, as so far as is possible, we can only mod or replace existing assets; that is we can't add anything new. We also have to take into account the current limitations of the modding tool that restricts mesh modding to identical vertex counts and weight painting. If we restrict modding to the already very limited number of core game assets, I believe the quantity and quality of mods will quickly stagnate.

As for Bioware taking legal action against the authors of the tool for extracting DLC assets, I really don't see any precedent for it. I can't think of a single example where a developer has taken legal action against a mod author unless they were trying to sell the developers intellectual property as their own. The most I have seen has been a notice to an individual mod author or mod hosting site to take down an offending mod. When the author/host complies, the issue is resolved.

The fact is, modding has always been a legally grey area and even for studios like Bethesda that provide SDKs, they have a broad "don't ask, don't tell" policy where they are loathe to set official policies in writing because that comes with legal consequences which are bad for modding. I heard this in an interview with Robin Scott (founder of Nexus), who said he had approached Bethesda to clarify what they would and would not permit on his site and they more or less told him not to ask the question. I believe Bioware have a similar hands-off approach; unless you are doing anything blatantly illegal, they don't want to get involved.

Sorry if this came off as a rant. I just wanted to get my perspective out there. I understand that as a co-author of the tools, the decision is ultimately yours and I respect that, but as it seems that no-one has given an opposing view - which may or may not sway your decision - I thought I'd give you mine. Respectfully :)


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:53 pm 
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mrjack900 wrote:
Dawn, I see where you're coming from in your reasoning but as it stands, Bioware already tacitly "permits" the modding of DLC assets; both in past Dragon Age games and the Mass Effect series. ME3 has a multiplayer component and we are able to export armours from the multiplayer DLCs and import them into the main game.

The only official word I've read on the subject is that they don't want people extracting paid DLC content and adding it to the main game. For example, if I took the mesh/textures from one of the squad Alternate Appearance packs and used it to replace their default appearance and then uploaded that mod to the Nexus. The Nexus does not allow content like this and Bioware, quite rightly, wouldn't stand for it. They seem to take no issue, however, with a HR retex of a DLC armour because only players that have paid for the content have access to it.

The reason I'm pushing for the inclusion of the ability to mod DLC assets is because, as so far as is possible, we can only mod or replace existing assets; that is we can't add anything new. We also have to take into account the current limitations of the modding tool that restricts mesh modding to identical vertex counts and weight painting. If we restrict modding to the already very limited number of core game assets, I believe the quantity and quality of mods will quickly stagnate.

As for Bioware taking legal action against the authors of the tool for extracting DLC assets, I really don't see any precedent for it. I can't think of a single example where a developer has taken legal action against a mod author unless they were trying to sell the developers intellectual property as their own. The most I have seen has been a notice to an individual mod author or mod hosting site to take down an offending mod. When the author/host complies, the issue is resolved.
The fact is, modding has always been a legally grey area and even for studios like Bethesda that provide SDKs, they have a broad "don't ask, don't tell" policy where they are loathe to set official policies in writing because that comes with legal consequences which are bad for modding. I heard this in an interview with Robin Scott (founder of Nexus), who said he had approached Bethesda to clarify what they would and would not permit on his site and they more or less told him not to ask the question. I believe Bioware have a similar hands-off approach; unless you are doing anything blatantly illegal, they don't want to get involved.

Sorry if this came off as a rant. I just wanted to get my perspective out there. I understand that as a co-author of the tools, the decision is ultimately yours and I respect that, but as it seems that no-one has given an opposing view - which may or may not sway your decision - I thought I'd give you mine. Respectfully :)


Jack we all want more features added to the tool, and if the coders don't want to risk it they don't have too. they already have alot on their plate with fixing the code right now and there is A LOT of work involved IF they ever feel comfortable in adding this kind of feature that's cool, but its better to be safe then sorry and personally Id rather for them to not get in trouble because of us


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:32 pm 
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mrjack900 wrote:
The only official word I've read on the subject is that they don't want people extracting paid DLC content and adding it to the main game.


This is exactly why we cannot allow the exporting of DLC assets.

The "same vertex count" thing will be fixed in the future. It's not a real limitation. Just one that Eham setup. This would make the tool really powerful. And with power comes responsibility.
We've been told from reliable sources that we should not to let people export at all. However, blocking everything would make a really poor tool so we're white listing the main game content.

You'll have to be content with that for now.
Sorry.

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:39 pm 
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As long as I can use mods (both those I will make and those made by others) in DLC story content I'm happy... otherwise what's the point?


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:44 pm 
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Slight001 wrote:
As long as I can use mods (both those I will make and those made by others) in DLC story content I'm happy... otherwise what's the point?


If someone wants to fix something in the DLC, they won't be able too.

At least that's what I'm getting out of this.

My opinion? I prefer DLC included. But since I don't code or I'm not part of that team, my opinion won't exactly matter or make an impact so. It's their tools so I'll have to deal with it xD.

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:11 pm 
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In a way, though, there is a precedence for this in DAO. Even *with* an official toolset, there were still no official mod supports for the DLC content. Yes, *most* of the mods worked with *most* of the DLC - just like with DAI. And people kind of just shrugged and accepted that some mods just didn't work with some of the DLC - or the expansion, in the case of DAA. So this isn't unheard of, either in Dragon Age or with modding.

Even Bethesda, for all their open support of modders, didn't put EVERYTHING in their kits.

Yeah, it may suck that some mods stop working in the DLCs, but that's neither new or game-breaking. I'd rather still be able to mod then suddenly have EA tell Bioware to break the mods permanently. Bioware has broken them by accident enough that I can't think it would be too hard to stop it altogether.
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 Post subject: Re: Concerning DLC files...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:20 pm 
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The DLC for DAO, at least, is not freely (or easily) moddable. With the exception of DAA, the assets are encrypted and can't be extracted without a hack that most modders won't even share, unless they have personal knowledge of the other modder.


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