Arena Depixelation and other woes of texture editing

Recently, Hellfire2079 updated his Elder Scrolls 1: Arena modding tools (more like suite). Since I’m about done with the vanilla Minecraft texture pack (and am burning out a little) I decided to test out the new program. Doing so reenergized me to continue on my Arena Depixelization Project (much thanks to Hellfire 2079).

Unfortunately, I soon discovered in the hiatus some of the almost 50 SET files that I had already edited went missing. After a week of scrounging through my various CDs, USB keys, and hard drives, I found all but about 1 or 2 of them (I still haven’t found the one USB key I know I put them on). Since then, I have pressed forward quite a bit and got a lot done. There still a ways to go but I feel good momentum and am able to use some of my “lessons learned” from editing Minecraft on the new textures. Currently, I’m up to 63/184 full set files and 28 (of way too many) IMG files. I added some new screenshots to the ADP screenshot gallery.

Example of Door IMG not done

Texturing Note: One thing I have noticed about editing texture files is that game makers sometimes leave garbage files in the resource file. Often it’s just abandoned art or in some case images that were make part of a larger image (or visa versa). This strikes me as odd especially with games that originally were on floppy disk since the were space limited in the first place. I have seen it multiple times in modern games too. When I was working on Torchlight I couldn’t for the life of me find several of the textures I had recently finished. I later discovered that they weren’t used at all in game and were likely remnants from early versions.

I ran into this problem while trying to test Arena with some snow ground textures. I replaced the GLOBAL.BSA file (the file containing all the game resources)  with my modded version but there would be no change in-game. After a little poking around, I discovered that the ground SET files (3 to 5 image “tiles” in a vertical line) were also IMG files as separate images (so a 3 image SET file would have 3 separate IMG files). I did some copy/paste work in GIMP to transfer each individual texture file to it’s respective IMG file. After loading, it worked as I originally planned (thus meaning the SET file was obsolete). I think they likely changed how they wanted to handle it in game so they could better mix and  match ground tiles without overhead needed to load each SET file (remember SET files contain 3 to 5 tiles).

Now the odd part is some of the Wall SET files are the same way in that they have a group SET file then individual IMG files, but in this case the SET files were used instead of the IMG files. For these, I think that they probably realized that the wall tiles for each SET usually were all used together so there wasn’t the need to have the separate IMG files (and may be why they didn’t break  all the  wall SETs into IMG files). The one IMG file that is an exception to this is the door file for each individual architecture SET as it remained only an IMG file (they have trim around the door matching the architecture style).

For me ,besides geeking out a little, all this leads to having to make sure that the SET files match any duplicate IMG files (annoying but hardly a game breaker). I may eventually release a streamlined GLOBAL.BSA if I every bother to find all the obsolete files (obviously for academic purposes since it’s not exactly a space hog).

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