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July 28, 2021, 07:47:31 pm


Use of ePSXe before 2.0 is highly discouraged. Mednafen/RetroArch is recommended for playing/testing, pSX is recommended for debugging.

Want to mod FFT, but have no idea where to start?

Started by RetroTypes, May 18, 2020, 05:10:09 am


May 18, 2020, 05:10:09 am Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 06:36:05 pm by RetroTypes
If you're reading this because you want to get into modding FFT, then first off: welcome! (If you just want to play a mod, see post 2)
I know you've probably got a lot of questions; I definitely did when I first started, and I still bug Elric and co. all the time with stuff lol. This thread is meant to answer as many as I can, as well as define some common terms to help you properly ask any remaining questions you'll have after you get through this post. I apologize for the wall of text to follow, but if you really want to make your own FFT mod, you're gonna have to read a lot on these forums. I'm not going to give full tutorials for each tool, as there's already plenty of threads for that (and I'll link a few), I'm just giving brief descriptions of what each tool does, as I think that's a big problem for those brand new to this. I'd also recommend taking a look at these threads once you're done here, they have a bunch of other tutorials for things as well as very useful tips for beginners:

Tutorial Link Index thread
Things I wish I knew starting out thread

Before we get started, I cant recommend enough that you download the FFTPatcher suite before going any farther, and at least have it open as you read through here. It has great starting tools, all of which I'll be highlighting below, and most of the simple stuff you'll want to do is a 1-minute-or-less task in the Patcher. Read through here and try your hand at working with each one. Every tool I talk about below that isn't a spreadsheet can be found in the FFH Tools section:


Now, you have a list of changes you want to make. You'll probably want to do things like make new items and skills, give Ramza and/or other characters more abilities, rename a bunch of stuff, and maybe even make a whole new class. And the good news is, you can do most of these things! The downside is, there's not a lot of space for additional things, so in general be ready to replace something if you want to add something new to the game. This isn't always the case, but better to warn you now. Another important thing worth bringing up sooner than later is, when creating your mod, you're going to go through plenty of iterations as you think of more cool things to do and inevitably mess something up haha. In order to not risk complications on the back end of things, and also to make sure you don't lose progress over time, best practice is to always save your changes externally (creating fftpatch and ffttext files) and start by patching a clean, unmodified ISO/Bin, for every build. It's a little tedious, but it will save you from destroying your game, I promise. Now, with the disclaimers out of the way, let's get after it.

This tool is widely regarded as the simplest of tools here on FFH, but not because it doesn't do a lot. It's actually just the easiest to work with! If you've ever played with patchers for other games, this is gonna look a little familiar. In here you can edit things like the stats of units/items/abilities and assign jobs abilities, among plenty of other things. Want to design your own new skill? Pick a slot in the abilities tab, and edit away! In the vanilla PSX version, you'll have a few blank slots to play with, but if you're using WotL or TLW (a great mod that adds most of the stuff from WotL to the PSX version), you'll have to replace an existing ability. A useful idea to consider there is merging many of the Bio skills together (there's 10 of them!). You can also edit what weapons appear in what shops, what level enemies are when you fight them, and change the move-find items and locations, to list a few other functions of the Patcher. Like I said before, the best way to learn what it can do is messing with it yourself, so give it a go! And try out saving your changes to a fftpatch file, using File -> Save Patch. For more information about specific Patcher things, see these threads:

[FFTPatcher] Ability flags explanation thread
Miscellaneous Tricks & Tips thread

Looking to change the names of things in the game? You'll need FFTactext. If you have access to Excel, you'll also want Xif's FFT Text Helper spreadsheet for making the edits simpler. You can do everything in Tactext, but it's a little more complicated, so if you can, use the spreadsheet. Another big note here is that if you're using Tactext to make these edits, you'll want to be using the one in either the .457 version or the .493 beta version of the suite. The other ones can cause problems, so just save yourself the hassle and stick with one of those versions for now. With either Tactext or Xif's spreadsheet, you can edit most of the text in the game, with one big exception: you cannot change the dialogue here. You'll need another tool for that, which I'll go into later. Want to rename a character, or assign a name to the new skill or job you made in the Patcher? This is the place to do it. Just go to the relevant section, and type away. Once you've made your changes in either Tactext or the spreadsheet, save the changes to a .ffttext file, then use Tactext to apply them. Yes, always save before applying, not just for the purpose of having your changes saved as a backup, but again, it can cause problems if you don't. If you want to make further changes to your edits later on, always load from your saved ffttext file, and re-save it when you're done.

If you've ever wanted to change how someone or something looks, this tool is the one you'll need to do so. Just about any image in the game can now be viewed and replaced in this tool (older threads will mention the need for other tools as well, but these were from before Shishi evolved to do everything it can now, so unless you're changing something super uncommon, this should be the only one you'll need). The unit sprites are on the main tab, and just about everything else is in the "Other Images" section. Formation portraits, item icons, shop backgrounds, and many more are all here, and can be exported and later re-imported with changes easily. A small note for this program in particular is that there is no saving/loading, everything you edit is applied instantly. This is a good time for to remind you to always keep an unmodified ISO backed up somewhere, in case you patch over vanilla assets and later need them. You can also batch export all images on the selected ISO using Sprite -> Dump all sprites and Image -> Dump all images.

The more complicated part of FFT modding comes in the form of ASM hacking, which is a manual re-writing of the assembly code for the game. This is not something you'll be doing as a beginner, but the fftorgASM tool lets you apply the hacks made by others to your game very easily. These hacks are the real game-changers (pun intended) when it comes to editing aspects of FFT, and while the hacks themselves can be very complicated, using them is usually designed to be very simple for the user. The Patcher suite comes with a bunch of hacks included already, but search the forums if there's something you want changed that can't be done without hacks; if it's not overly specific there's a decent chance someone's already made it! Once you've got the hacks you want to use in the folder, a single button applies them to the game. But always use the conflict checker first if you're using more than one hack, and if you see red, that means you cant use that combination of hacks as they're written, unfortunately.

And that's the Patcher suite in a nutshell! With just those basic tools you can change so much of the game, but once you have those down, there's even more great tools for you to play with:

  • CDprog/CDmage - lets you extract and insert files from the game; needed for most other tools
  • Attack.out editor - lets you change different aspects about the battles in the game than the Patcher, including where units can deploy, how many units and squads you can bring, and more
  • EVSP - the event editor for FFT, this lets you edit which units are in events, what they do, and the big one, what they say! It can look overwhelming at first, but changing the dialogue is easy (look at the end of the events)
  • Random battle editor - edit which battles take place on which maps, and when they become available in the game

There's also a ton of useful spreadsheets that you can edit, then they'll produce .xml files for you to apply via FFTorgASM; it's like ASM hacking, but with 99% of the work done for you! Here's a few very useful ones:

  • Raven's workshop utilities - this spreadsheet does a *ton* of stuff; rather than list them all here, just check out the thread for more info
  • Ability requirement hack (ARH) - like swordskills requiring a sword equipped, but on steroids
  • Xif's spreadsheets - the Excel master herself has handcrafted loads of spreadsheets to do so much stuff, including the following and more
    • Special snowflakes - allows any unit to be affected in almost any way, on a per-battle basis
    • Worldmap editor - change where locations and paths are on the map
    • Skillset behaviors fix - if you're planning on giving the Archer, Lancer, or a few other classes new moves, you'll need this hack (more info as to why in the thread)

Alright, so now you've got a lot to go read, and a lot of tools to utilize to make your perfect version of FFT. If you have more questions, I'd recommend searching the forums first, and starting a new thread or asking in the FFH Discord if you still cant find an answer.  Let me know if this helps any new users, as well as if anything here could use more clarification or info!
  • Modding version: PSX


May 25, 2020, 10:44:56 pm #1 Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 06:37:42 pm by RetroTypes
Now, perhaps you just want to play other people's mods (for now?). It's a lot simpler to do that, just one tool needed.

Another one you can get from the above-linked Tools page, this is really a tool that can be used with any game that you can get a ppf for, which is basically just a list of changes from original ISO to a modified version. You can get ppf's from various mod threads across the forums, and then use ppf-o-matic to apply them to your vanilla ISO (keeping a fresh copy somewhere else, of course!). Each thread should specify if you need to do any extra steps before applying the patch, but for the most part this is simple and easy. Select your base FFT ISO/Bin, then select the patch's ppf file, and hit apply. Give it some time, and then you're ready to play!

  • Modding version: PSX