Edit: This is now closed down. Modding can now be done by editing data files. See here and here. More documentation will be forthcoming.
At your request, I am introducing a "mod developer programme" to encourage and support the development of mods for Airships.
Entering the programme allows you access to the original source code of current game releases. In exchange, you agree to abide by the following rules:
If you would like to sign up for the programme, drop me a line here or by email, and I will add you. Once you have been added, you will see the words "Registered: Mod Developer" on your profile page, and you'll be able to access the game source from the downloads location.
I should also post some basics on how to actually make mods! I am hoping that existing modders will step up and provide more detailed tutorials, but the basics are as follows:
Airships is a Java program, and Java programs are composed of class files. By default, Airships loads its class files from Airships.jar. However, if there is a class file at the right location in the mods directory, Airships will preferentially load that. This allows you to selectively override parts of the game.
This process also extends to assets, such as sound and images, which are also loaded from within the jar file. By putting files in the right location, these can be overridden. For example, the main sprite sheet can be replaced by putting an alternative into mods/com/zarkonnen/airships/images/spritesheet.png.
So you can load the source code into an IDE, hook it up to the required libraries, and edit it to your heart's content. Then, to distribute, compile the code, pick out the class files that have changed, and zip them up for placement in the mods folder.
Warrant Officer, Engineering Corps
I would like to join the program and try to create a mod. Thanks!
I would also like to try my hand at modding!
It is done! You are inducted into the halls of modding. :D
Hmm.. I don't quite understand how to export the mod so it can be used in the mod folder. Do I make a zip with src/com/zarkonnen/airships/[modded classes]? I tried around alot and can't get the game to load my mod.
On another note, it was surprisingly easy and fun to add new modules and a new armour type for my first mod and they work well when loading the game from NetBeans :)
I should really get around to writing the rest of the guides. Basically, you want the mods folder to be:
Lemme know if that works. :)
Still can't get it to work :(
So, let's say I have a .zip in the mod folder. Can this zip be named whatever? Should the first folder inside the zip be the com folder?
Do the classes have to be exported as .java or .class?
Ah right. :)
Really need to make that second tutorial!
Ah, finally got it to work, thanks :)
Yeah, it's utterly non-obvious if you aren't a crazy Java person who modifies the classpath for fun...
Commander, Engineering Corps
I would like to make some mods :D
You have been inducted into the ranks of modding, and can now access the game source! :)
Cabin Boy, Engineering Corps
I would like to be apart of the programme
IT IS DONE. Let me know if you need any assistance.
Is there a version of (or alternative to) Netbeans available for Mac users?
Absolutely! Mac NetBeans is available from this download page - just choose "Platform: Mac OS X" from the dropdown if needed.
Most of Airships' development was done on a Mac. :)
May I join the mighty legion of modders?
𝕴𝖙 𝖎𝖘 𝖉𝖔𝖓𝖊.
I'd like to mod this game, as well :)
I also have a question. In your introduction to modding, you state, that modding is possible, because the "mods" folder has priority. And from what I can understand, you're therefore limited to a single mod at a time.
Let's say I wish to use 2 different mods, adding new weapons to the game. I would have to manually merge the two module files, and merge the spritesheets. (Although, I'm guessing it's possible to reference different spritesheets) I'm just wondering if there is a way to make the merging automatic.
Or let's imagine I enjoy the modified world map from one mod, but like the modified modules from another better. Would it be possible to create subfolders within the mod folder, and designate a load order?
You are right that this is a limitation of the way the modding works. If your two mods happen to touch different sets of files altogether - say one adds new weapons, and the other one changes the world map - then you can merge them together and things will work.
In the case where two mods want to modify related functionality, there's not really a way to make things better, as the mods may even be fundamentally incompatible.
When it comes to adding stuff, though, it should be possible for mods to coexist. The way I want to do this long-term is to switch to having as much as possible in external data files. So instead of modifying the source code, you can just write JSON files that get added on to lists of things. Of course, this approach will be more limited, to roughly:
Awesome. I'd like to join the engineering corps.
i would like to join the modding community
What's the word on the breakage of modding? Is there a solution in sight for the next patch, or is it still a persistent problem?
Captain, Engineering Corps
As far as I know it is still broken and it will be difficult to get modding capabilities due to it being released on steam. The latest version we can still mod on is 5.2
Able Airman, Engineering Corps
I'd like to join the ranks of the modders
I'd like to mod the game, please accept me into the programme :)
I, too, would like to be part of the Engineering Corps of modders! :)
OK, I finally got around to explaining the whole modding set of issues. Comments and suggestions very welcome.
You might want to take a look at the Minecraft modding scene. The developers have never made any tools to support modders. The community made tools that decompile the jar file, and this is what most modders use.
The fact that it was done by the community, without official support meant that there was no accreditation, and it was all based on reputation. If a modder puts in enough work to make good enough to become popular, chances are they don't want to throw it all away. At least, that was the state of mods that also needed to be installed client side.
On the server side, there was a project called Bukkit. This was a server side only mod, that loaded plugins to do things like protect parts of the world, teleportation, and make factions. The Bukkit team checked all plugins for malicious code, and they failed countless times. One time, they found a bug in one of their decompilers, that allowed some parts of the code to be hidden, and other times, the person doing the check simply overlooked some command, that ended up breaking stuff, or giving administrator privileges to the plugin developer.
All this meant that the safest thing to look at, was still the response from other users on the forums.
What I'm trying to say is that any attempts at vetting people or mods failed, but the modding community still succeeded in making some awesome mods, that a lot of people use. Restricting what people can edit when making a mod is a very bad idea, since it creates limits to what can be modded into the game.
make a quick list of what you'd like to move into the data files. Did it include the AI and pathfinding? say, for instance, that someone wanted to make the game about building tanks instead of airships, they might want to only make them follow certain roads, or perhaps just make them stick to land.
I've never seen vetting and approving modders work.
Restricting access to certain parts of the game makes worse mods.
Yep, I'm familiar with Minecraft's modding scene. :) The thing that worries me here is Steam. If mods are on Steam, people will assume that they are "safe". So the nightmare scenario for me is that someone creates a malicious mod, or a mod that unintentionally causes bad stuff to happen, people install it from Steam, and then I get the blame for setting up a modding system that allows arbitrary code execution.
And yes, as I said, if there's only data files, you can really only edit modules, armours, monsters and translations. Not AI or anything.
Lieutenant, Engineering Corps
Hi Zarkonnen, I'd like to join Mod Developer Programme, because you know, I feel like something is missing here in game... Like Nuclear Fission Reactors, Cold Fusion Reactors, Antimatter Reactors... MIRV and Barrage Missile Launchers... Railguns... Well, you know, stuff, which will make this game more fun :D
As for my IDE I use Eclipse Kepler - my favorite out of all (it has really nice desktop icon) :P
I found "Airships Conquer the Skies" at Steam, and I was really happy when I actually found out that it has multiplayer :)
OK, I've made the newest sources available to modders again. I think source mods are good, it's just likely they'll have to remain off-Steam.
WarStalkeR: You're now a modder. Use this power wisely, and feel free to ask questions. :)
Zarkonnen, to make it simple, you should just define to everybody who makes mods, that they can't post mod without it's source code (I mean, only mod's source code, not entire game's source code).
Such way was used at KSP (Kerbal Space Program) to ensure that no malicious code will be left in the mod.
EDIT: I'm also thinking about adding button "Research" to game via mod (if possible) instead of using cities capture to get new tech. On the other sides such bonuses as cost reduction will be city only bonuses.
So you mean putting all of the changed code into a text file? Or how would you post the source code?
Posting the source code of the mod - though this needs to be discussed with Zarkonnen, to avoid posting game's source code, because eventually, our mods are only changes of original game files.
I loaf it! (Bread pun intended, despite no... relation... to bread...)
Anyways, I'd be interested in joining the almighty ranks of the modding scene.
IT IS DONE.
Are there any requests for future modding academy posts, BTW?
I am pretty set on modding information, I think I know what most things do.
I'd like to join the modders community
I'd like to throw myself into the modding mix.
I have some mod ideas. Please add me to your community of modders.
Jason, Blade, Rattas - it is done. :)
Hello Zarkonnen. I have a couple ideas I'd like to fiddle around with myself, if you're willing to add me to your program.
I would like to join the modding community. I have never tried it before, but I think it is about time that I try my hand at it. Also, I have a few aesthetic ideas I would at least like to implement into my own play. Little fun things, but am not at all opposed to contributing to the modding community for others' benefits, as well. Let me know!
Hoi Zarkonnen, I'm from switzerland too and I like your game. I'm really impressed you're giving out the source code. There are some little things that annoy me in the game, like it's very difficult to catch the command buttons of a fast moving ship (there are no keyboard commands, right?). And I would like to always display some stats like coal and ammo. The option to cease fire to save ammo, etc..
Please add me to your modders program and I'm happy to send you my code changes.
Braddock, Brutus, ohyeeha - you've been added to the ranks of the modders. :)
ohyeeha: Actually, there are keyboard commands. Look for the highlighted letter (or the letter in brackets at the end) of the name of the command when you hover over it. Move is "M" for example.
As for the stats, I think a mod for additional stat overlays would be a great idea, and pretty easy to do too. There's always a balance with these sorts of things between giving too much and too little info, but once you're familiar with the game, you'll often want extra info - so being able to opt into that with a mod would be good.
Thanks Zark. You've got great timing too. I've been computerless for awhile now but I just got it fixed up a day or two ago. New video card too. I'll take a look over the next few days and see if I can make any meaningful contributions.
I would like to try modding this game. I have a few ideas I'd like to try.
Sure - you're in the modder programme now. Take heed that you need to set up your game to launch in the "old way" of v5 before modding got broken.
Midshipman, Engineering Corps
I, too, would like to work in the Engineering Corps.
(also kudos for running the site on https - not something you see often for indie games (or just like, most games in general) ^_^ - no HSTS or HPKP though D=) (also is this a custom forum?)
Done! Yep, the forum is custom, based on Django. Did it that way because I wanted integration with the accounts/heraldry system.
/me withholds the urges to ask about every possible implementation detail and to write a small thesis about how Heraldry images could be handled much more effiiently, but would still kindly like to point out gzip isn't enabled on the forums
The "Your Downloads" section is empty though, it just says "No downloads available. You may need to buy Airships first".
I've bought it on Steam and linked my account, so is that because I've set my profile to private?
EDIT Setting my profile to public won't make any link appear =/
Ah, fixed that now!
And yeah, heraldry images are handled in a rather quick and dirty manner.
Is there an easy way to get the source sprite sheets without having to be part of the mod developer program?
If not, can I get access to the developer program?
I've been trying to do a bunch of mockups using screenshots, but they're flattened and non-uniformly scaled to 1:1 pixels. I'm working on some mod ideas but i don't current have any intentions to actually put them into the game, at least yet...
I'm interested in this.
I'm a stranger to Java, but I'm interested in figuring it out for the sake of this. I would like to be added to your program, if it pleases.
mrCarlton, twinCats, LunaticMethod - modders now! :D
I would like to join the modding programme too.
Good day, I would like to join the modding program.
Hello, just following up. I am still very interested in joining the mod program. I am looking forward to gaining access to the sprite sheets.
You can already access the sprite sheets if you open the game.jar using a zip/rar program.
You are en-modded now.
Speaking of mods, I'm currently hard at work on a new data-driven mod system. It'll be a bit more limited than changing the source code, but a lot easier to use, and mods won't constantly break anymore!
Sign me up pls! :)
Hey, I would like to join this programme, I have experience from modding on GSB, Rimworld, Wayward terran frontier, Starsector and other indie games.
I haven't tried mod games with their source code yet, so this would be good chance to actually make something great.
I have a lots of suggestions and ideas what to develop to this games.
Actual infrantry, and stand alone units. that would be nice early game add-on, rather than going straight to huge airships.
Global map and battle map needs incresement.
Weapon mechanism needs reworking, as the way they work now is unrealistic and bad for the gameplay.
More exterior items "blocks", as it there isn't enough atm.
More dept to global map gameplay. Politics, trading, ect. Tho I don't have much experience with that kind of AI mechanics. So I hope someone would do it.
I am interested in this game, and after discovering this program I am curious to try my hand at it, I have never used java before but considering how common it is for development I figure I should give it a chance. even though the new modding system in v8 is coming and seems much more up my alley I am inclined to at least give source code modding a try. please add me to this program.
Done! Note that the future of source-level mods is currently kind of unclear.
A bit out of place here, but I cant find a bug tracker (although I barely looked) the source dl for 7.4 is broken. I tried chrome, me, and ff, so I don't think its the browser. I will try 7.3 for now.
@Zarkonnen I would appreciate reply to my request. or least a reason why I'm not accepted to programme. Very unmature behavior from developer.
Mere disorganization, my apologies. You are now added.
Do i still have to be added to mod? If so, i have my papers here sir. Tweaks mustache
Nope, you can just mod away. Good places to start are here and downloading the example mods to study here.
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