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Advances on Editing Overlays
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2208binho Offline

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Advances on Editing Overlays
Recently I started to look into overlays files again and search for some stuff on the Internet and I´ve found some very interesting things! Those who edited overlays for FIFA 10 or earlier versions will remember there were two main files: one with .apt extension and another with .const extension. These files store the information layout and function calls (for animations, etc). And I think nobody, probably, realize that this same structure was used in games like Command & Conquer 3 and Battle for Middle Earth.

Well, I´ve found some CC3 forums teaching the basics about editing APT files and more: tools to do so! A member of CC3 community, called jonwil, developed some tools that convert APT files to XML (a more readable format) and backforth.

The useful tools in this file are: apt2xml and xml2apt. The basic usage is:Open the cmd, navigate to the desired folder and type apt2xml.exe apt_file. This will create a xml file with the file structure, in a readable format.

You may be wondering: What this mean, afterall?

Well,the format used for overlays in FIFA 11 and the new version still is APT and CONST, but a bit modified: the files named 0 and 1 inside the .big file are, respectively, the .apt and .const files. To be more specific, from FIFA 11 to 14, it was used the "version 2" of APT file, and starting from FIFA 15 the "version 3" was put in action (with globalComponents graphics).

You may be thinking now: Well, this means we can use these tools to edit FIFA Overlays then?

The answer is: no. The bad news here is about these specific versions, because the tool can´t decode the new files. However, the tool can decode FIFA 10 overlays, which are a great start. I've tried to do some reverse engineering last year, but I had no success.

However, this week I started to looking into these files again and go back to those CC3 and BFME forums and I realize I had missed something. In a thread some random guys were discussing about how ugly the source code of this tool looked and I then started my quest to find this so called "ugly source code". I took some minutes to find the author's website with a lot of download links, but none of them worked. Then, the Web Archive site came into my mind. I put the download page link there and boom: the source code zip file started to download.

I started to read it immediately and guess what: the code is really ugly (just a joke haha)! All the code is written in C++ and have no documentation, so the reading was not easy. While I was finishing the reading I realize I´ve no time for this. I really would love to start to convert this code, but I have no free time anymore (my site wasn't updated for months!).

Here's the reason I'm sharing this info with you: I'm not able to keep this going on and I'would really love to see the community being able to edit overlays (in a easy way, not playing with hexadecimal editors like I did). I´m sharing this content here because I know someone is capable to create a new tool to convert the overlays, if I point the right path. So, here is my idea: If any of you have good skills in programming, download the source code, debug it using FIFA 10 overlays and try to rewrite it to FIFA 18 overlays. It's really a hard work!

I'll try to post some tutorials about editing APT files with a hex editor in my website (FIFA Premier) to help you with this. Maybe you can go deeper in this project with this information.

As the files are only hosted on the Web Archive, and may not be there tomorrow, I hosted these files in my website. You can download them in the following links:
CC3 Tools
CC3 Tools source code

And you can read my full article about this story in my website: FIFA Premier.
03-13-2018 02:00 AM
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