MSTs w. Dead Skins: Black Skin Error Fix (Updated 06/09/'11)

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MSTs w. Dead Skins: Black Skin Error Fix (Updated 06/09/'11)

Unread postby lexmac0 » Thu, 1st Sep 2011 2:08

If you're too lazy to read how I found the fix, scroll to the bottom: all info on the fix is down there...

Hi there, I'm sure many of you JPOG modders out there have, like me, tried your hand at reskinning dinosaurs, maybe even dabbled in the stream of MSTing. However, after having followed Integrity Zero's MST tutorial, which allows both live and dead skins for cloned dinos, I have since encountered the rather infamous monochromatic-skin tone error (generally either black or white), which looks like this (or something near to...) :

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As you can see, my cloned dino (a Deinonychus) comes out with a completely black skin, whereas the other dinos from the dinos_flamingcliffs.tml came out fine (Raptor in the foreground works correctly).

Image
The same is evident within the hatchery.

Image
However, upon its death, the Deino's skin slowly fades to a partially-translucent dark-green skin.

Image

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Interestingly, the skin then flashes a whacky blue-ish colour, slowly fading away until it disappears.

Image

Since having encountered this error, and finding the oddness of the dead-skins, I have become quite interested in finding the source of this seemingly-impossible error, and have since spent many hours tampering around with the .tml files. It is here that I wish to find some help from other modders, as although the .tml file contains the correct .dds files with no errors (converting with no difficulties), tracking down the cause of this non-existent error will take some time, but I feel it will help to benefit the whole skinning community.

What I have already found through my various tamperings:
14/08/11 - The positioning of the dinos within the .tml seems to strongly affect the monochromatic-skin error - for example, if the error intially occurs when the new dino-skin is placed at the top of the .tml file (bottom of the footer), if the order is switched - say placing the Raptor at the top rather than the Deino, the error begins to spread to the other skins, in my case with the Deino and Raptor skins working fine, but the Galli and Homalo skins going monochromatic.
14/08/11 - Within the .tml file, if the apparently "broken" location for the .dds files is kept as an I.D. placeholder, but renamed something other than the original skin name (a quick-fix method suggested by ERC), the error appears to persist, affecting other files within the .tml too...
15/08/11 - Renaming the dinos within the .tml footer appears to have no visual difference with regards to the skin error, although thoroughness is required if trying this (as you need to rename various parts of the dino.inx and .ini as well as the .tmd files in the Models folder).
16/08/11 - Whilst testing today, I did manage to break through the error, albeit with some difficulty... It basically involves creating many of the same .dds files within the .tml, but constantly moving the broken files to the base of the pack - for example: I am working with the flamingcliffs file to try and implement a Deinonychus into the file, and (for your reference), I ended with 20 skin slots ( :argh: ) but finally found 10 (as there are two new dinos in the file now) which work, with the footer order reading Broken(galli.dds), Broken1(homalo.dds), Broken2(raptor.dds), Broken3(deinon.dds), Broken4(deino.dds), Deinon(deinon.dds), Deino(deino.dds), Galli(galli.dds), Homalo(homalo.dds) & Raptor(raptor.dds) (so the skin order in the .tml file is reversed - remember that!). All in all - I'm quite pleased with myself, but I still haven't tracked down the elusive error, however if you are struggling with the error, try the order I had my dinos in. If that still fails, all I can suggest is trial and error - changing the order of the .dds files within the .tml... But, don't fret! I will still be hunting down this evil, and will hopefully bring it to an end!
17/08/11 - Less success today - whilst trying to add more skins to the dinos_morrison_a file, I enocountered the same-old, elusive error, and my seemingly-long "quick-fix" didn't help, however I am starting to have some suspicions as to what may be causing the error (largely with the .dds files not wanting to sit next to certain other .dds files) but please - if you are encountering this error on the dinos_flamingcliffs.tml please try the fix stated above, as it may turn out to be that each file has a certain order... Who knows? As of yet, I certainly still don't... Anyway, bedtime now lol :amused:
18/8/11 - A slight breakthrough today - found that (in actuality) the "broken" skins are not required, and can be deleted once all the desired skins have been placed in the correct order. Also note, the original skin order is somewhat important (I think) - for example, whilst working with the Morrison A file, I had reordered the skin in such a way that the footer (which originally read Cerato, Dryo, Steg) read Dino1, Cerato, Dino2, Steg, Dryo; however only the Dino1 and Dino2 worked (the most successful so far). Then, I decided to test an idea based on a hunch, and found that, after having reordered the skins to Cerato, Dino1, Dryo, Dino2, Steg all but Dino 1 worked (not sure why - but working on it), as Dino1 and 2 were clones of the Dryo. As you can see, the original order appears important in this instance, as the Cerato skin (as silly as it may sound) seemed very stubborn in being anywhere but the bottom of the .tml file (top of the footer)... So the skin order appears much, much more important to the glitch not occurring than I had thought... More to come.
01/09/11 - Major genius moment! Admittedly, since the last edit, I have done practically nothing with this project due to a contracted project I'm working on, some school work and a holiday, but during that time, I have been thinking a lot about the possible causes of this error, and every time kept coming back to the footer. So, whilst playing around a bit tonight, I decided to try putting the dinos in alphabetical order in the footer, as this seemed to be how I had overcome the previous problem in the flaming_cliffs.tml. As you can see (if you look back a tad), the footer had all the dinos in alphabetical order downwards (Deino, Deinon, Galli, Homalo, Raptor), so the skins in the file are the other way up. If you look at all the other .tml files, this also seems to be the case. So if you are trying to MST and find this error continuously coming up, try moving the dinos around until they are alphabetically arranged, and this (should) solve the problem! :lul: Check the bottom of this post for further information!
01/09/11 - For those of you looking for a tad more confirmation of the fix actually working, using my workings-out, I managed to build an entirely MSTed pack, adding 15 new dinos to the game and reskinning several too. Proof enough? Pack will be release as soon as the skins are in tip-top condition :)

---PLEASE NOTE---
Whilst your help would be a great help to both me, and the rest of the Modding Genesis community, you kinda need to already know how to create an MST (although if you are interested, I would strongly suggest Integrity Zero's tutorial, as the level of detail he goes into is simply incredible). Also, as all modders will keep reminding you: it is VERY IMPORTANT to back up your files - if you suddenly encounter an un-fixable error, I personally know how annoying a full-reinstall is, as you will lose all your mods and edited files.

Thanks a bunch - and I hope we can overcome this together! :lul:

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EDIT: Added to my findings
RE-EDIT: Possible fix? Try for yourself - and please, if it works tell me! A breakthrough is nigh!
RE-RE-EDIT: Aforementioned fix may be specific to the flamingcliffs file, but work shall continue... Tomorrow... Afternoon... If I bother to get up :lul:
RE-RE-RE-EDIT: Actual possible fix: rearrange the skins in alphabetical order within the .tml and the problem should cease. Please try it, and if it does/doesn't work tell me: this could be the breakthrough we are looking for!
RE-RE-RE-RE-EDIT: Thread has been stickied :amused: I also added embedded images, and detailed more causes and fixes of the error (thanks to MC_Jpog for pointing the blatently obvious out to me lol ;) )

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FIXING THE DAMNED GLITCH!

It is important to know (and something I literally only realised a few hours ago) there are several causes to the black-skin error, however I hope all will be covered in this tutorial-sort-of-bug-fix-guide-thing... :hehee:


  • Fix #1: The first fix is very, very simple. If you look at all skin-packs uploaded to Modding Genesis (or any site, really) most (practically all) of them will only mod the standard digsite.tmls, leaving the digsite16.tmls unchanged. Sadly, this means if your game runs on a 16 Bit screen-resolution, the skins will not work. There are two simple ways to overcome this. The first (and the easiest) method is to simply change your screen-resolution to 32 Bit in the options menu. Simply open options (in-game), then go to the Video tab, and change your screen-resolution from ----x--- 16 Bit to ----x--- 32 Bit. The skins will now work. If this does happen to munch on your memory a tad (this can be quite considerable on older/slower computers), the second method is always available. Go to the JPOG>Data>matlibs directory and find all the modded digsite.tml files that contain black skins. Now copy and paste them into your My Documents folder, and rename all of them ---16.tml (for example dinos_flamingcliffs16.tml rather than simply dinos_flamingcliffs.tml). Then drag-and-drop them back into the matlibs folder to replace the old ---16.tmls (which contain the naff, standard 16 Bit skins). Your skins should now work.

  • Fix #2: This, whilst not actually requiring that much editing, can be a bit of a pain in the rear-end to do (however, you can skip this step if it is a whole digsite/most of the dinosaurs from a single digsite which are messing up, because if this is the case, this is unlikely to be the problem, and the next fix will be more suited to your requirements). This really involves checking all the glitching dinosaur files to make sure there are no mistakes in there. It is wise to check the dino.ini and dino.inx first (found in the Units folder), making sure the dino.ini contains the following linkages (highlighted blue) and references, correct to the dinosaur name in the .tml:

    Unit {
    Name=baryo;
    Directory=AUnitSpino;
    TClass=AUnitSpino;
    ScreenName=$Unit_baryo;
    ...
    Animations {
    Model=baryo;
    }

    Next check the .inx file (the following appears about half-way down the file):

    PreviewScene
    {
    CamPosition = {0, -3.2, -15};
    CamAngle = 0;

    Light[silhouette]
    {
    Colour = {0.05, 0.05, 0.05};
    }

    Model
    {
    Model = baryo;
    Animation = walk_lp;
    Position = {0.7, 0, 0};
    RotationY = -90;
    }

    If these are all fine, then it is time to check the god-forsaken models files, however this is not compulsory - the chances are if you can build the dinosaur from the hatchery without the game crashing, the error is not here, but it is worth checking anyway. Find the dino.tmd, dino_hi.tmd, dino_lo.tmd and dino_md.tmd and open them in a hex-editor (preferably Hex-Editor Neo, as it is the most user-friendly interface). Use the find button (the little magnifying glass on HEN) to search for the dino-name (in my case Baryo) in each of the .tmd files enough times until no more are found. Generally it varies between 3-4 references per file, depending on both the dinosaur and the quality (_hi, _lo or _md). Generally think that the larger the dinosaur/dinosaur's skin, the more references there are likely to be, but the lower the quality, the less, if you get what I mean. However, once you have checked for the correct name, you should also check for the original dinos name (in my case, Spino) to make sure no references have been left out. Also note that (after some confusion with shorter-named dinosaurs), the first reference in the original dino model files will likely be the full name of the dino, however this should still be changed to the same name you have been using for all the other files, regardless of what you may think it does. If the model files appear to be completely bullet-proof, you should now move on to the next fix (if the error has not yet been resolved).

  • Fix #3: If neither of these are the problem, or some of the skins still don't work, the third fix, or "final resort" as I like to call it, (which will require quite a bit of work, but is quite straight-forwards (once you get your head around it)) works as follows: If you look at the problematic digsite.tml, it is likely the footer will look something like this (with different dinosaurs, depending on the digsite and the mod you installed):
    Image

    As you can see, the dinos are placed in any-old random order, which is not what we want. To make all the skins work correctly, the dinosaurs in the footer should be arranged in alphabetical order, like so:
    Image

    Sadly, though, this is not the end... You now have to rearrange the skins within the .tml accordingly, so as to make sure the correct skins are matching to the correct dinosaur. As you can see in the first image, the footer is set out as:
    Carcha
    Ourano
    Spino
    Jvrex
    Iguano
    Baryo
    Megalo
    Drago

    As such, the skins in the .tml file will be laid out in reverse order (Drago at the top of the file, Carcha at the bottom), however, to make the file work correctly, the skins need to be laid out in reverse-alphabetical order in the .tml, like so (if you're following my example):
    Spino
    Ourano
    Megalo
    Jvrex
    Iguano
    Drago
    Carcha
    Baryo

    Be very careful with this step, as it is very easy to get all the skins muddled up, especially in the large files, like mine. In many cases, especially with large files (rearranging >5 skins), it is generally easier to rewrite the .tml (so going back to the original, and simply adding the skins from the modified file back in the correct order). Also note, the headers of all the dino skins will need to be renumbered in numerical order counting down. If you cannot do this, have forgotten, or just need some point of reference, look at Integrity Zero's Tutorial for more detailed information.

    Once you have completed this step (or so you think), save and close the file, then use ConvertCCT to check the correct skins are matched to the correct name. If they are, give yourself a pat on the back: your skins should now work beautifully!

  • HOWEVER: Whilst this will, in 19/20 situations, resolve the problem, there are some dinos which are still a bit iffy: I was having troubles with the dryo clone, however I rewrote the .tml and it works fine now. If you look at the comments IntegrityZero made before making his MST tutorial, he also said he had troubles with the clone skins for the Tricera, Pachy & Stego, and could fix them by fiddling with the models files (for example, after the dino-name (excluding the first one in each .tmd file) there is sometimes a hex-value similar to 07 which, according to him, when deleted from the .tmd made the skin work and with no following glitches)... I have not checked this method myself, but would recommend that, if it does look like that is the only solution, give it a go at your own peril but - most importantly - REMEMBER TO BACK UP YOUR FILES! Reinstalls are no fun: you will lose all your mods and stuff, so be careful. I'm speaking from experience too...


Also, for those of you who have edited their .tmls practically beyond recognition and just want to start again, I have created a Skin Restorer Program, which does what it says on the tin. It WILL restore all the .tmls to their defaults, as well as returning DinoList.ini, FslHunt.ini and Eng.txt to their factory settings. It will not affect any other files. More information on the thread and within the installer.

Anyway, I hope I've helped, if anyone needs any further help regarding this topic or skinning, hex-editing and the like, feel free to give me a shout and I'll see what I can do for you! :lul:
--lexmac0
I don't really JPOG anymore... But I do YouTube! Check it out, if ya have some free time and wanna see some s#!ts and giggles! :D

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Re: MSTs w. Dead Skins: Black Skin Error Fix (Updated 06/09/

Unread postby smokecombs » Fri, 24th Jul 2015 9:40

I guess I'm about a century late on this...but anyway I found this game late and love the darn thing. If by some miracle you are still around do you remember how to fix the "black shadow" problem still. I love, and give major kudos for your step by step tutorial. But that 3rd step, I believe, is the one I'm missing. But my brain power isn't understanding exactly what to do. I don't know if my dinosaurs are already in alphabetical order, do I need to reverse that order? Or is that in a different file, ect..? If by chance you see this, can you help a big dummy like me out? Thank you.
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