Version 4.0

Peoples General Suite

© Luis Guzmán



GAME SETS
 

What is a GAME SET ?

As you know PEOPLES.EXE  is the game executable file. It includes inside some code (routines to implement some features), calls to external windows DLL (as directx management) and some data defining things as files to use (EQUIP97, GUI97, MODGEN, ...),  folders to look up files (SCENARIO, .... ) and some other parameters as interface files, movement cost, base year, .....

Code and external DLL routines can only be changed (I mean without having the sources) by disassembling, understanding and rewriting the binary codes for some of the CPU instructions (ASM pseudo codes) using an hexadecimal editor. This allow changing some of the features making really a new game. That is what Redball made to release the latest PeG_027x and WW2-027x  patches.

But those features stored as  data can be modified much more easy, just by replacing some bytes of the executable, once that data address is known. Anyway once changed the executable behavior is somehow different.

We could say that Game Set is any executable that can play the game,  calling Basic Game Set  to any of the flies which has different features hacked by changing coded routines (as People.exe , PeG-027x.exe and ww2-027x.exe) and User Game Sets to any of them with some further data changed.
 

Why to change the data ?

The main reason to develop the Game Set concept and include a user-friendly interface within the Suite, was to allow having different e-file related scenarios & campaigns sharing into a common game folder (so sharing the bigger and more difficult to maintain MAP folder) but without interacting each other, I mean avoiding multiple game installation or moving files when you want to play campaigns for different e-file than you currently have on your main game folder as EQUIP9, which is IMHO the typical solution for handling that.

So the basic and simple reason would be to define different folders & files for each e-file you play often. Instead of moving to a different folder or to make complicated BAT files to rename or move files, you can create and use specific User Game Sets to play.

In addition it comes to help on adapting the different mods (mainly WW2 mod, but also Red Danger Asia, or Red Danger Europe) to a new patch  release, when made available, avoiding the need to hack several mod-related executables, which has no sense at all, as hacking is the most difficult and time consuming work.
 

How do I use an existing Game Set ?

To play simply select the Game Set executable instead of your standard. Basic Game Set.

As Suite loads auxiliary files as soon as you load a campaign, scenario or saved game, you have to tell it which folders and files it has to search for. To do that just tell it:

§         If it should read setting from a Game Set

§         Which Game Set you intend to use, as to read settings from that

This can be set on Settings & Folders window


How to do ?

Suite includes a Game Set Editor available both from the main Toolbar and from Settings and Folders window,  just press  this icon

On Settings & Folders you can define which Game Set you plan to use for the files you are editing, and this executable will be load as soon as you press the Game Set button.

Unless you have already several Game Sets and the one you are creating is only slightly different of another already existing, it is better to start always from Basic Game Set  (a clean Peoples.exe or any of the Redball 027 releases).

Game Set Editor is a tabbed window where you can see and change whatever setting you want. Each tab has a Reset changes button to undo  whichever you have modified on that tab since you loaded or last saved the Game Set.

When you press Cancelar button, window will be closed, but if you have made any change you will be prompted to save the Game Set

Pressing Aceptar button is the same as going to Load/SaveAs TAB and press Save As button (see below)

(*) Please note Aceptar and Cancelar buttons labels are provided by Windows, so they will appear translated according your Windows language settings.

 

Folders & Files TAB


Please note that all folders and files show as NO on the check file status box. This is cause they don’t exist yet
.

Warning: you should never save changes with any of the boxes showing
NO.

 

On this tab you can change all Folders and files the game will use. This way you can have specific folders for each e-file and keep all e-file related files into the same game folder
.
You can set folders & files names based on a naming rule by writing a 3 letters on  Set Name field box.
Press Default Folders Names and Default Files Names buttons. to change folders and/or files settings according Suite convention.

Not all files and folders have to be changed, you can share any one fitting your Game Set necessities, as for example NAMES, MISC or TIPS.

GUI can be shared for all Sets with the same countries, but you can do 2 or 3 GUI files with different combinations

Same can be set for modgen.dat, you can configure several files to suit different counties, though it is a better solution to use a common modgen.dat file including all icons and several packages of *.s16 interface files and reconfigure which S16 files should be used for each Game Set. (See S16 Files tab below).

With folders it will be better to have always specific folders for each Game Set, but USERSCEN could be shared if you do not think on using game editor. But if you want to play custom scenarios made as that, you better use a specific USERSCEN folder also

You can type new names for your folders and/or files, and each change you do check file status box will be updated. You can select existing folders and/or files or create as needed.


You can create folders and files on the way or select existing.

 


To create a new file, be sure you have set the name you want and press their Copy From button aside. Then you will be prompted to choose a file to copy from, as it is assumed you have a proper file already somewhere on your hard disk.

When you created a EQUIP file by copying an existing you will be prompted only for .EQP, but both .EQP and .TXT files will be copied.

Instead of creating you can select an existing one by pressing their Select... button. A browser will pop up to pick the one you want to use. You only need to pick the .EQP file

 

To create a new folder, be sure you have set the name you want and press their Make Folder button aside.
It will create a new folder and check file status box will turn to O
k.   No dialog will be shown to make folders as it will use the name you had in the text box.

To select an existing one, just press their Select... , and a folder browser will pop up to allow picking the one you want:

 

Movement Cost TAB


Here you can edit for each terrain type and movements type the cost on dry and frozen ground condition.

Terrain type labels can be edited also. Simple type the new label you want for selected one on textbox below the list.
If some label is changed you will be prompted to save into GUI file defined for this Game Set.

Movement types can be edited also, simple by typing a new label on each textbox, and if someone changes, you will be prompted to save into your MISC file.

You can also Export the cost table to a text file and also to Import from a text file. This was asked to allow to send this settings by e-mail, but it can be also be used for backup purposes.

 

Alliances table TAB


Alliances table can be changed here.

Selected slot (the one highlighted) can be changed at any time using country Combo-box.

Select a new country (or none to remove) and press
Change Slot Data button to update the table.

As stock SSI alliance table is full of countries there is a
Clear Alliances button to remove all countries for both sides  quickly

To remove a country from an alliance side, set its slot to none (0)

Table contains country code and 3 additional bytes which seems not to be any meaning and are always 0. They are only shown for selected slot.

 

Miscellanea settings TAB


All year dates are stored as a 0..255 values relative to a base year. So equipment availability year and scenario date is relative to this value.

PeG can play any cine compatible with QuikTime.
By default it is limited to MOV type files, but setting this data to *.* any type can be defined.
 

Over cost for veteran and elite units is also an editable data you can change here.

And Air missions cost is also a table you can edit.
Some of the fields are not used, but they are there.

 

 

S16 interface files TAB


Here you can modify which S16 files will be used for interface.

The idea is allow to have different interface packages inside  modgen.dat according the mod and country's flag you use.
 

Each Game Set should define which ones to use to modify the interface (change color, start picture, and so ..)

To quickly change all S16 filenames to a Schema package as to use PeG-WW2 using a brown or green color schema, s Two buttons are provided:
"Schema" feature is included

Save as Schema button  creates a SCH file - it is a plain text file you can edit using Notepad - including all S16 names you currently have defined.

Load Schema button lets you pick a SCH file to replace your current S16 filenames  with those included into the SCH file.

This way Schema packages can be easy to host and install, if they includes the proper SCH file.

   ...
Any of the small buttons launch this pop up with all S16 files existing inside the DAT file defined, matching the 3 fists letters of each S16, as in the example all files matching INF for Infoicon
 

Load & SaveAs TAB


This last TAB allows all Game Set maintenance.
Here you can:
  • Load a different  Game Set double click on any item from the list
     
  • Save the current one with same or different name, pressing   Save As button (a browser will pop up to type a new name or to pick an existing one)
    When you overwrite a Game Set, a backup copy will be made automatic, but if you choose a different name, no copy will be made.
     
  • Export to SET file.
     
  • Import from a SET file

SET files, are unformatted text files used to store all modifiable data included into a Game Set.
So exporting to a SET file, allows storing all the specific data in a small size file for backup purposes or most important to migrate your settings from your current Game Sets when a new patch is released.

As I mention before, when a new patch is released some features will surely change - most of them implemented as internal routines you cannot change using the Suite, so if you want to play that new features you have to use that patch.
But you can keep your tweaked data by exporting to a SET file and then creating new Game Sets, starting with that new patch, but importing all your custom data.

 

Some warnings

 

Anyway if you still have troubles to use it, don’t hesitate to e-mail me and I’ll try to help you.

Do not thing I have figured out data inside the executable, in fact I have only made the interface to see and edit that data, but all the merit should go to the people who made the hard work, specially a man called Redball.