Purpose of the Art Manager Edit
The Art Manager is the center piece of the Titan Quest editing tools and provides a system for organizing all of the files related to a Titan Quest mod. It has three primary functions:
- Convert source files created by external editors (such as the World Editor, Quest Editor and 3rd party tools like Photoshop) into game-ready assets
- Create and edit database records which define the properties for objects in the game
- Act as a client for Iron Lore's proprietary source control system, which allows multiple users to work on the same set of source and database files without disrupting each other's work. This function is only available when the Art Manager is run in networked mode.
In addition to being the primary tool for creating user mods for Titan Quest, the Art Manager was also used by Iron Lore in developing the game.
Starting up the Art Manager Edit
When you first use the Art Manager, you are prompted to specify three directory locations.
The 'working directory' is where you store your raw source files and the so-called asset files the Art Manager will convert them to. You may place that directory anywhere.
The 'build directory' is where the Art manager builds the playable mod. As far as the Art Manager is concerned, this may also be anywhere. If you want to test your mod, you should set it to <MyDocuments>/MyGames/Titan Quest/CustomMaps, because Titan Quest looks for mods in that folder.
The 'tools directory' is where the editing tools are located. That is your main Titan Quest directory.
Later, you can change the locations of these directories by choosing 'tools->options' from the menu.
Importing templates Edit
Templates are required for the Art Manager to properly display .dbr files. They have no effect on the game itself.
Templates can be installed from the Help menu of the Art Manager. Immortal Throne templates had to be downloaded separately. Anniversary Edition includes all the needed templates, but installs them in the wrong directory. So if you encounter "error loading record file or associated template" when trying to open a .dbr file after installing the templates, move them (everything except the "records" folder) from the "Working/Database" directory into the "Working/Database/Templates".
Beginning a new mod in the Art Manager Edit
Under the Mod Menu click on "New...". Type the name of your new mod and click on OK. Close Art Manager.
The "New..." function create also the following dirs in your source and assets folder:
- Maps: for your world and map files
- Quest: for your token.bin and quest files
- Text: for your modstring.txt file
Customizing your mod's database Edit
By default, every new mod uses the main game's database. To add your own content, you have to customize the database.
After loading your mod, you use 'Import record' in the 'Mod' menu to do so. You will see a file structure of database records folders. Choose the record to modify. It will be imported into your mod's database at exactly the same location it was in the main game's database. You can check this by clicking on the 'database' tab.
To import records in bulk, extract them with ARZExplorer and copy into the mod's folder.
Any record in your mod's database with the same name and location will override the original record in the main game's database. You can edit the record where it has been imported. (In some cases the game will look for the record at a certain location, those records must not be moved elsewhere in the database.)
Generally though, it is better to make a copy of the imported record, and edit the copy. Advantages:
- You can rename the record
- You can store it in an easily accessible folder. To this purpose, you can add your own folders to the database by right-clicking into the database window.
- You can use both your modified record and the original record in your mod.
To edit a record, double-click it. A window with the record's properties will open.
Adding custom resources files Edit
To add new custom resources files, you must place them in your mod's source folder, then create the assets.
Adding Images/Textures Edit
There are two types of images you can add, bitmaps and textures. Both of them are saved as TGA or PSD files and placed in your source folder.
Images that you want to use as a texture have some restrictions (special dimensional size).
Also, you must create the assets for them, which is not neccessary for bitmaps.
Adding Sound Files Edit
You can import mp3 or wav files. Most of the original sound files are mp3's but the small loops (anything with approx. 10 sec playing time or shorter) are saved as wav's.
Adding Meshes Edit
The makers of the game do not feel it is worth their time to release the tools used to create meshes, despite the fact that it could extend the life of the game for many more years if a decent modern combat mod was made for example.
Creating assets Edit
Assets are an intermediary step in the process of producing a playable mod from raw data files.
(For those familiar with programming language compilers, you could perhaps compare them to the object files a compiler produces from source files, which can then be linked to make an executable.)
By creating an asset of a raw source file, the file is transformed so that the Art Manager can use it to build the mod. The assets are placed into a mirror directory structure of the source directory. So for instance, if your source file is in <Name of Mod>/source/maps, the asset will appear in <Name of Mod>/assets/maps.
You can toggle between both directories by clicking the 'sources' and 'assets' tabs.
For each source file, you need to create an asset only once. After that, it will be updated automatically when building. Generally, you can auto-create assets. Right-click on the source file, choose 'auto-create asset' from the context menu and confirm with 'ok'.
In some cases, for instance when importing your own textures into the mod, you must create the asset manually.
Creating Texture/Bitmap Assets Edit
If you "create auto asset" with an image, you have to choose bitmap or texture.
Bitmaps are used for the minimaps, UI stuff and inventory pic of items.
Textures are used for any object that has a mesh. If you create a texture you have to choose some other things to.
Building your mod Edit
Once you have finished creating the assets for your resource files, you can build your mod by pressing the F7 button, or selecting "Build" in the Build menu. If you get a red message saying error during the build process, then something is wrong with your files/assets/dbrs.
(The most common cause for the error message is not closing the World Editor before building the mod.)
Database Records (DBRs) Edit
A database record is a text file which is formated according to the data it contains, using specific templates to the type of the dbr file.
Each entity of the game has a dbr file that contains the informations concerning it.
Such informations are the path to find the raw data files (music, maps, textures). The items names to display in-game, the skills parameters, etc.
See also the list of database records folders.
Networked Mode Edit
The Art Manager can be used as a client for Iron Lore's proprietary revision control system by starting it with the the "-network" command line parameter. When the Art Manager is running in networked mode, it must be connected to an machine running a Source Server over the Internet or on a LAN. When starting up in networked mode, the Art Manager will display a dialog box prompting the user to specify the name of the machine running the Source Server, the port that it is listening on and the user name. The Art Manager and Source Server do not provide any security (including password protection), so it is recommended that when connecting over the Internet a VPN is used.
When in networked mode, all of the source, asset and database files are placed under revision control. The revision control implements a exclusive check-out system that prevents two users from editing a file at the same time. Typically a user will check out a file when they need to modify it and then check it back in when they have finished their modifications. The revision control system also provides a simple mechanism for syncing with the latest version of all of the mod files.
The Source Server application can be downloaded the IGN Titan Quest vault site (http://titanquestvault.ign.com/View.php?view=ToolsandEditors.Detail&id=8). To use it the file can be put anywhere on the hard drive and run by launching the SourceServer.exe application with the directory where the server files should be stored as a command line parameter. In the currently released version the Source Server always listens on port 1337. The Source Server can be run as a Windows service by using a 3rd party tool such as FireDaemon.