Peoples General Suite
© Luis Guzmán
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
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
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.
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 Ok. 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.
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
As stock SSI alliance table is full of countries there is a
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.
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.
S16 interface files TAB
|Here you can modify which S16 files will be used for
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:
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:
SET files, are unformatted text files used to store all modifiable
data included into a Game Set.
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.
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.