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Author Topic: How to: Remove unwanted Maxis-made content  (Read 68 times)
Amber
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« on: September 10, 2017, 06:38:30 PM »

If done correctly, the following method should be entirely side-effect free! No more needing hideous, buggy user-made plants to replace the missing Maxis ones!

Thread is still kind of a mess though. Pictures will come soon.

BEFORE YOU PROCEED:

-DO NOT TOUCH ANY OF THE HASHES CONTAINING DATA FOR THE CELLS OR PLANTS!
These creations are essential for the game to work properly. Messing with the cells will permanently brick the Cell Stage even if you restore the unedited Spore_Content package. Only a reinstall will fix it. It should be obvious why you don't want to remove plants but I included the disclaimer anyway so you can't blame me for ruining your game.

-MAKE SURE YOUR GAME HAS ENOUGH USER MADE CONTENT TO REPLACE THE MAXIS CREATIONS YOU ARE REMOVING.

-This will only work in Patch 4 onward, due to a change in how the game generates Pollination data.

-Do not delete Grox vehicles or buildings, because the game will not replace them with something else. It will replace the Grox themselves, though.

-Remove all other mods bnefore doing this. Preferably, experiment with this on a clean installation in the correct order to eliminate as many red herrings for troubleshooting as possible, should something go wrong.


This requires Sporemaster as it involves modding a core package file.

1. Make a copy of Spore_Content in your Sporemaster folder.

2. Unpack it, in the Mod tab, NOT the Package File tab. Unpacking will take a while, and Sporemaster will appear to go unresponsive. Be patient and give it time. it is working even if it doesn't seem to be.

3. Once it's unpacked, take a good look at the hashes. Make sure you view them in Sporemaster and not in your system's folders, because they will be out of order.

4. Within Sporemaster, you will see that the first hash is gibberish, leave it alone. the second one will have cell names followed by .raster extensions. then you will find a folder containing the cell .pngs, followed by hashes with the cell names ending in a .gmdl extension. keep going, and you will find gibberish names followed by a .raster extension. This is where data for the creatures begins.

5. All the creation data folders follow a pattern of .raster, pngs with other data, then .gmdl. When the .gmdl extension hashes end and another set of .raster begins, you are in the next tier of creations. go to the .png hash to see what they are.

6. Following the above pattern, you can keep track of exactly what you are deleting.

7. You can pick and choose or just nuke the entire tier of creations, but be aware of the following:
-ensure you cleanly remove all the data associated with the creations you want gone. if you delete Mupid Staggie, removing just the PNG will cause the game to crash. you have to nuke all the .raster, .gmdl, etc. files with the same name as it.
Failure to do so many cause the game to fail to even boot, generating exception reports claiming a "missing .dll" error, which is weird and incorrect. The reports will also indicate the crash was caused by calling data that does not exist, which is the problem with removing some but not all data associated with a single creation.
-Do not delete the Grox vehicles or buildings, because the game will not replace them with something else. It will, however, replace the Grox themselves, so deleting the Grox creature is safe.


8. Once done, pack it up. This may also take a while, but the program will show a progress bar this time around. Replacing the file is fine since we are keeping a backup of the original.

9. Delete Pollination.package from your user data. On 64 bit operating systems, the directory is C:/Users/Yourname/Appdata/Roaming/SPORE. Appdata is hidden, so enable viewing hidden folders first. I do not know the equivalent location on non-Windows operating systems, unfortunately.

10.Back up the unmodded Spore_Content and remove it from your game's Data folder. Replace it with your modded one.
Note: Sporemaster compresses .package files differently than Maxis did with their official ones, so the modded one will be significantly larger than the original. This doesn't seem to matter, though. As long as it's named Spore_Content and you deleted the creations correctly, the game should work fine. We will not leave it in though because it's unnecessary.

11. Launch the game. It may show a screen with a message like "updating content". It doesn't matter if the game does or not. The purpose of launching it is simply to let it generate a Pollination file without the unwanted Maxis creations.

12. Quit the game. Remove the modded Spore_Content and put the original one back.

That should be it. When you start the game back up, the creations you didn't want will appear in your Sporepedia but will NEVER populate in the game unless you either delete Pollination again and repopulate the game with the unmodded file, or resave them under your own name.

If you run into any problems it's because you did something wrong where your content deletions were not "clean". The safest thing to do is to only delete the creature hashes. The disclaimer with the cell stage comes from the fact that I did this wrong on my first attempt and deleted content from opening the folder, not from within the Sporemaster program, and accidentally deleted hashes associated with cells instead of just the ones for the creatures, which bricked my Cell Stage lol

Doing it right the second time and only deleting creature hashes, my game works perfectly with no bugs, cell stage is fine, and all the awful Maxis creatures are gone.

This technique exploits a change in how Pollination data is generated starting with Patch 4 onward. For some reason, if Maxis creations are absent at the time the file is generated, they will be effectively "banned" from ever being selected to appear in the game, while user made content will never have the same issue.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 06:56:57 PM by Amber » Logged

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