Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stupid Dragon

Ever since patch 3.0, a terribly annoying dragon resides in the World of Warcraft login screen. Every couple of minutes it lets loose an obnoxious roar.

You are sure to always find at least one active thread in the WoW forums focusing on this terrible design flaw. But it astounds me that the replies are mostly to tell the poster to STFU, or suggest half-baked solutions to what is the real problem: a stupid dragon. For those of you that find the 'whiners' more annoying than the dragon, I recommend these macros you can play every time you run across one of those threads:

/script PlaySoundFile("Sound\\Ambience\\GlueScreen\\Wrath_Login_1.wav")
/script PlaySoundFile("Sound\\Ambience\\GlueScreen\\Wrath_Login_2.wav") 
/script PlaySoundFile("Sound\\Ambience\\GlueScreen\\Wrath_Login_3.wav") 
/script PlaySoundFile("Sound\\Ambience\\GlueScreen\\Wrath_Login_4.wav")

For those of you who would rather spend time getting rid of the roar, the fix turns out to be terrifically easy.

Download this file and put it into your World Of Warcraft/Data folder to shut the dragon up.

How this works (I think): When WoW needs a resource (a sound, graphic, etc.) it checks the name indexes found in the various MPQ files. If two MPQ files contain the same named resource, it picks one of them (probably from the last file in alphabetical order). So this MPQ file essentially replaces those 4 sound resources above with empty sounds.

Don't believe me? You can use Ladik's MPQ Editor to take a look at the MPQ file.

I cannot take credit for this hack. Someone in the WoW forums posted this fix in a thread I am now unable to find again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dissecting Mirror's Edge

I'm brand new to the inner workings of the Unreal Engine, but this is what I've found works for Mirror's Edge.

Enabling the built-in Mirror's Edge editor!: Folks have gotten the real Unreal Editor mostly working for Mirror's Edge.

UE3PackageViewer: Hands down the nicest and completely open source package viewer found. I've already updated it to work with Mirror's Edge. It can preview DDS images (double-click the Texture2D in the detailed list), and even read compressed packages (.me1 files). I've also added Ogg extraction, and raw dump extraction for unknown data (somewhat broken). WARNING: the program is still full of bugs (and I don't have much motivation to update it any more that I have).

Upk Info: Not quite as extensive package viewer, and doesn't currently work with Mirror's Edge, but it's also open source.

Unreal Model Viewer: Soon to be open-sourced model viewer that works for many Unreal Engine games, including UT3 and Mirror's Edge (Gildor is the man).

Oggextract: Another open-source tool that scans and extracts Ogg files from the packages.

Another Ogg extractor: Closed source Ogg previewer and extractor.

NVidia's content creation tools: Includes DDS image viewers and converters.

Bink RAD tools: To watch and convert all the videos of the game.

3D Ripper DX: Can capture models being rendered by DirectX 9 on Windows XP.


The Beyond Unreal Wiki: Documentation for practically every aspect of older (<= 2004) Unreal Engines.

Mod Authoring for Unreal Tournament 3: Serious documentation is serious.

Other points of interest

UShock: Open source UT2004 level viewer. Doesn't work with Mirror's Edge, but maybe it could be updated to do so.