PlanetDungeonSiege | Dungeoneers | Siegelet FAQ
Siegelet FAQ

So you want to make a Siegelet... Well, this should be a pretty good place to start. I am sure you are full of questions and have no idea how or where to find the answers. Well, we at PlanetDungeonSiege have tried to make that task just a little bit easier for you by throwing together this little FAQ. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions in our forums about exactly how one will be able to make third party mods (what we call Siegelets) for Dungeon Siege.
  1. What is a Siegelet?

    Siegelets, as we call them are better known in the industry as mods or third-party add-ons. Fans of a game dig inside it and come up with new things for the game that the original developers didn't see fit to put in the game when it was released. An example of these would be new maps for games like DOOM or Duke Nukem, new weapons for those same games, new skins for the players, also for games like Total Annihilation entire new units could be created, new tile sets, etc.

    In Dungeon Siege, the really cool thing about Siegelets is that because of the availability of the Siege Editor this will open up the possibility for you to not just alter the current no no! You will have at your disposal the ability to create entire new worlds! If you want to make a wild-west-style add-on, you can do it! If you always wanted to go head-to-head with Chicago's gangsters in the 1920s you can do it. If you wanted to join Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix" with Dungeon Siege and the Siege Editor, you can do it. Of course, creating an entire new world to play in will be no easy task. Hours of work goes into making all the appropriate pieces of the puzzle, but it can be done.

    Siegelets are a compilation of many different smaller parts. Kinda like putting together a giant puzzle. Some of the pieces to this puzzle are:

    The basic hierarchy goes something like this:

    • Tank files contain all the pieces of a Siegelet packed like a ZIP file. These are binary files.
    • Maps are made up of regions, which are made up of groups of nodes and moveable nodes.
    • Game objects are made up of models, Skrit, sound effects, Siege effects and other components. Skrits, GAS files, and SiegeFX are all text files. Any game object need not contain all of the aforementioned attributes but can contain almost any combination of them. Models, Skrits and other attributes are attached to game objects via GAS files.

    If this sounds like a daunting task, it is. But fear not! You don't have to make an entire Siegelet by yourself. That is why we are here. If you have a great idea for a map, make it! If you have a really cool monster design you want to implement, make it! If you have some really cool ideas for new weapons, make it! You can always put your stuff out there and let people play with it as just an add-on item instead of an entire Siegelet. And who knows, if you post in our classified area that you'd like to join a team of other fans and become "Dungeoneers," you might get picked up by a group of people with your same interests and before you know it a Siegelet is born.

  2. What in the heck is skrit?

    Skrit is a scripting language used to help alter and define the behavior of Game Objects. Through the use of Skrit you can help make the world come alive.

    Skrit is for those people who really want to get their hands dirty and muck with things. It's for the programmers. Don't worry, you can create Siegelets (mods) and do lots of stuff without ever touching skrit. But say perhaps that for your particular Siegelet, you wanted to create a refrigerator that made something cold when you put it inside of it. You would somehow have to tell the Siege Engine about that special feature. You would do that via skrit. Say you wanted to make an alarm clock. You would have to somehow tell the Siege Engine that "this little item keeps time like this" and you would do that via skrit. As a matter of fact, take a look here at a skrit for just such an alarm clock. Skrits get attached to game objects via GAS files.

    More info on skrit can be found in our Skrit section.

  3. What the heck is Gas?

    Scott Bilas explained that "GAS is our data language. Take Windows INI files and add in C-style braces "{}" and nesting and that's your basic GAS file." GAS files will tell the Siege Engine which skrits are attached to which game objects, kind of like the road map to your siegelet.

    Here's an example of a GAS file for you to take a look at. You can see in this example how different pieces of the whole puzzle come together. This is an example of a GAS file for a cow in Dungeon Siege. You can see what makes parts up his body, what skrits are attached to him, etc.

  4. How the heck does a Tank work?

    Scott Bilas said that "A Tank is a package file that we stuff all the other files into. Nearly every game has its own package file format. Doom had WADs, Descent had HOGs, TA had HPIs, etc. Think "WinZip". I did a talk for GDC 2000 on this subject if you're curious." Each map will probably go into its own Tank file, as will save games, etc. It's like a data dumpster. When someone creates a new Game Object or Siegelet, it will be packed in a Tank File and then imported into the game.

    Get it??? GAS...Tank...GAS files go in the GAS Tank...Gas Powered Games...hahaha

  5. What is a map?

    Maps are areas the characters exist in. These are made up of multiple regions. The size of the maps are limited to what the author's system can reasonably manage in the Siege Editor. Maps contain all the regions. You cannot stitch multiple maps together. Regions, however, are what you stitch together to form a map.

  6. What is a region?

    A region is a collection of multiple nodes. Wanna be really confused? Every region is at least one node but not every node is a region. How 'bout dem apples?

  7. What is a node?

    Nodes are the building blocks of regions. They can be placed together to help fill out a map area. Node types can vary from static terrain to structures. And remember, every region is at least one node, but not every node is a region. Confused? Read on.

  8. What is a movable node (elevator)?

    The elevator is a node with a game object attached to it. The object uses a template that contains a Skrit component that knows how to operate an elevator (there are many of these). You add a trigger to an object in the game that tells the elevator object to activate via a world message WE_REQ_ACTIVATE. For those of you learning Skrit, this information will be helpful, but you might not understand exactly what it is yet. That's OK, neither do we, yet. But basically, we know that the WE_REQ_ACTIVATE command is a Skrit command that stands for World Event REQuest ACTIVATE. It just asks the game, "hey, can I move now". More on this later.

    Another important note is that elevators can only move from door to door. You cannot tell one to just arbitrarily move around wherever you like. The way you make one work (from Skrit) is request a transition, giving the ID's of the nodes for the doors that are to be detached and reattached, and then parameters for the transition itself like timing.

  9. What is a game object?

    Game objects exist in many forms. From mobs, to triggers, to terrain features. Anything a player can interact with (with the expection of a few specialty nodes) is a game object. The behavior of games objects is dictated by their attributes and any skrit code associated with them.

  10. What is the difference between a node and an object?

    Here's the criteria for making something a node versus an object:

    • Nodes and Objects light differently (nodes light much more realistically because they pick up light values from many points, whereas objects pick up light from a single point)
    • Currently, only nodes cast shadows (exception is actors)
    • Only nodes can be walked on
    • Only nodes can be moved and walked on at the same time
    • Only objects can be walked through
    • Only objects can be broken or destroyed
    • Only objects can be selected
    • Only objects can be scaled
    • Only objects can have an effect attached

    So, we tend to make really large terrain features nodes wherever possible, mostly due to the lighting issues. That's partly why some trees are objects. The other reason is that they're part of a node that serves as a boundary and building them into the node saves on level detailing time.

  11. What is the Siege Editor?

    The Siege Editor allows you to graphically assemble your maps from various nodes and place game objects onto that map. Check out our Siege Editor section for more details.

  12. What are SiegeFX?

    SiegeFX is a scripting language different from Skrit that helps the author create various special visual affects. Presumably, this links readily with Skrit event handlers. SiegeFX scripts get attached to game objects via GAS files. More on SiegeFX at our SiegeFX samples page.

  13. What is this Frustum thingie?

    Frustum is a logical sphere surrounding a player character. The Siege Engine only actively manages objects within the characters Frustum, which appears to be similar to a sphere of awareness, outside of which, nothing exists or is actively managed.

  14. What is GMax?

    GMax is a limited version of 3D Studio Max. The whole intent is to allow game developers to ship a specially configured version which will allow modders to create objects specifically for that game. The official GMax page describes some of the differences between 3D Studio Max and GMax.

  15. What is a component?

    Simply put, a component is a basic game object with the details left up to you. For example, you have a short sword, a long sword and a cutlass. Each is a sword, but each with their own strengths and weaknesses. They are all swords though and they are built from the sword component or template. The amount of detail on these components can be a large or as small as you like depending on your imagination and tastes. If you don't want to learn how Skrit, components will be your savior for making cool stuff in Dungeon Siege.

  16. Is it possible for the NPCs to speak and if so how would we assign new voice files to our NPCs in Siegelets and in what format?

    Dungeon Siege supports .WAV and .MP3 files. Usually .WAV for sound effects and .MP3 for streamed musical scores.

    GPG toyed around with .WMA for a bit, but had to drop it. The format is truly excellent, very high quality for a fraction the cost in disk space of MP3, but it comes at too high a price in CPU time. So they went with .MP3, which is a good balance of sound quality, decoding time, and disk space. As to how this is done, well we just don't know yet, but more then likely a certain sound track will be packed in a Tank file and associated with the appropriate NPC or whatever game object via a GAS file.

  17. I was told that PSD files from Photoshop are the primary image format, for textures and such. Can anyone confirm or correct this?

    Import PSD (Photoshop), JPG (I'm pretty sure it's in now), BMP, and probably some other common ones into Dungeon Siege's own format. The DS guys are mostly using Photoshop to do all their texturing. They wrote a plug-in for 3DSMax so Photoshop files are compatible. I believe they will release the plug-in after DS is released.

I'd like to thank everyone from our forums for helping out here, but namely: Guttyr, Stormbringer, Weezer YenSid, The Historian, Valcrow, Blackthorn, Mepper, Anzac, and Ahnteis Corazon. Jalapeno for supplying the basic format for this FAQ. And of course Chris Taylor, GPMechanic, Calix, MuleBoy, Kwandao and all the gang at GPG for posting in our forums and for making this killer game. You guys ROCK. | GameSpy | Comrade | Arena | FilePlanet | GameSpy Technology
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