SED3/Packing Content for Distribution
When you have created a new level, player model, or similar, you will probably want to give it to others, or upload it to some community site (like Seriously!). To simplify distribution of custom content, Serious Engine uses so called "group" files, or .gro files. This article explains how those group files work and how to use tools inside SeriousEditor3 to automatically create them.
A .gro file is just a zip archive with all the content needed, with all paths relative to the game's installation path. You can use any tool like Total Commander or WinZip to see or change the contents of any .gro file.
The game will load files either directly from disk, or from inside a .gro archive, preferring files on disk if existing. If there are multiple .gro archives all containing the same file, the archives whose filename is "higher" in alphabetical order take precedence. This allows patches to be created by adding newer archives with "higher" names.
Automatic creation of .gro files
You can create a .gro file manually using TotalCommander, WinZip, InfoZip, or any similar tool. However, it is much simpler to use the built-in tool for that in Serious Editor 3:
- Open a file you want packaged (e.g. a world, or a player model).
- Select from the menus: File>Create .gro file
- Check the console log window for eventual errors and path to the created .gro file.
Note:: For this to work, you must have InfoZip's zip.exe utility somewhere in your path. You can get it from here. If you are not sure what "somewhere in your path" means, or don't want to install into path, you can just put it into the game's root dir. (Not in the Bin/ subdir!)The automatic creator will pull in all content needed to load the currently open file (models, sounds, textures, etc.). It will only include the files that are directly on disk, i.e. will not take files from other .gro files. This makes sure you don't re-distribute parts of official content, or other modifications.
Note: If your content depends on some official content that is not universally available (e.g. a DLC), or some other modification, the end users will need those to load your content.
Making the content appear in the game
Important: To use the custom content, users must choose "Play moddable version" when launching the game.
In order for levels and player models to appear in the game, they need to have matching .nfo files. These are plain text files describing name as visible in the UI, thumbnail etc. Examples of such .nfo files can be seen inside offical .gro files. In the current version, the automatic .gro creator tool doesn't include those files, nor their dependencies (e.g. thumbnails). You need to manually add those to your .gro files fter they are created by the tool.
Take special note of the fact that a level (world) will only appear in the in-game UI if the following conditions are met:
- The level is inside a folder of an episode, and that episode has its own .nfo file, and
- The level is marked with
LOCKED="No"in its .nfo file.
If you are creating a new episode, make sure you create a .nfo file for the episode, and mark at least the first level as unlocked. (If your levels are connected, then others will be unlocked as the player plays through.)