User:Neovalen/Origins Revisited - Ultimate Edition
Origins Revisited: Ultimate Edition
A STEP hosted mod guide created and maintained by Neovalen.
Last Update: 20:52:04 25 July 2021 (UTC)
Introduction and Summary
Origins Revisited: Ultimate Edition is a STEP hosted mod guide designed to mod Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition. Key tenets of this mod guide include:
- Maintained Lore Friendliness meaning remaining true to the majority of Dragon Age lore - but not in a purist sense - some liberties will be taken.
- Maintained Stability with Maximum Functionality including proper installation and resolving conflicts between mods.
The system used for the creation of this guide is as follows:
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K @ 4.5Ghz
MOBO: Gigabyte G1.SNIPER 3
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600Mhz
GPU: EVGA 670GTX Superclocked 4GB (SLI)
- Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation. --Robert H. Schuller
To use this guide to it's fullest extent, the following software must be installed and configured as specified.
Official EA/Bioware Content
- Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition v1.05
- Notes: The download from Origin may not currently install all the DLC. To get them, navigate to this page and follow the instructions.
- 7-Zip v9.20
The function of this tool is to open archives manually when not using other tools as it handles most modern compression schemes and is free to use.
- Beyond Compare v4.0 or other comparison tool
The function of this mod is to compare folders for conflicts and easily resolve them by either merging or deleting a conflicting file. File conflict lists have been provided in the guide but Beyond Compare will make the job a lot easier. Use "Diffs - No Orphans" and "Ignore Folder Structure" options to easily delete conflicting files between mods.
- CharGenMorph Compiler v1.2.3
The function of this tool is to merge all the various CharGenMorph.xml files in your override directory into a single xml file for use by the game.
- DAO-Modmanager v1.9d
The function of this tool is to manage mods and is the mod manager of choice for this guide.
- 4GB Patch v188.8.131.52
This function of this tool is to modify the Dragon Age: Origins executable to be aware of memory greater than 2GB.
All Journeys Begin With The First Step...
- The first step, my son, which one makes in the world, is the one on which depends the rest of our days. --Voltaire
The road of the Warden begins slowly and with purposeful resolve.
Configure Dragon Age: Origins
Upon downloading Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition from Origin there are no ini files pre-generated. Thus, it is imperative to run the game to generate the initial set of ini files and do basic setup.
Start Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition through Origin. Log in to the Dragon Age servers by clicking the Log In button in the bottom left corner and using your Origin account information. Click "Options". On the game tab, in the Feedback section select "Conversations and Ambient Dialogue" in the Subtitles drop down. On the video tab, in the Screen section select your monitors native resolution in the Resolution drop down. On the video tab, in the Detail section maximize the Graphics and Texture detail sliders but leave AntiAliasing off. On the video tab, ensure both Frame-buffer effects and Vertical sync are enabled. Click Ok then exit the game.
Next, the 4GB Patch tool will be used to allow the game to use greater than 2 gigabytes of memory.
Start 4GB Patch. In the browse window, select the daorigins.exe located in the <install dir>/bin_ship folder. Close 4GB Patch by clicking [OK].
Your settings have now been saved into the ini files and the game can now address greater than 2 gigabytes of memory which will be important for modding. These settings have accomplished the following:
- Enabled subtitles to help with making sure no dialog is missed.
- Logged in to the Dragon Age servers to upload character data for the Dragon Age Keep.
- Setup the ini files with a high quality graphic baseline.
Configure Graphics Driver
Dragon Age: Origins (henceforth referred to as DAO) uses an old engine and needs help in the graphic department from your systems video driver.
Unfortunately, the author does not have an ATI card to test with but the important settings are the following:
- Anistropic Filtering: 16x
- Multisampling AA: 4x
- Transparency AA: 4x
I dont not have any idea how you wanted it worded but here is the AMD equivalent.
In the CCC (Advanced View), go to the "3D Appplication Settings" and underneath "Application Settings" click "+ Add ..."
Navigate to the "*\Origin Games\Dragon Age\bin_ship" and select the daorigins.exe, then click [Open]
Underneath Anti-Aliasing set the following:
- Anti-Aliasing Mode: Override application settings
- Anti-Aliasing Samples: 4x
- Filter: Standard
- Anti-Aliasing Method: Multisampling (personally, I have it default to supersamping)
- Morphological Filtering: Off
Underneath Texture Filtering set the following:
- Anisotropic Filtering Mode: Override application settings
- Anisotropic Filtering Level: 16x
- Texture Filtering Quality: High quality
- Surface Format Optimization: On
Using Nvidia Inspector some life can be brought back into this old game engine. The settings should be as follows:
- Antialiasing - Behavior Flags: None
- Antialiasing - Line Gamma: Enabled
- Antialiasing - Mode: Override any application setting
- Antialiasing - Setting: 4x [4x Multisampling]
- Antialiasing - Transparency Multisampling: Enabled
- Antialiasing - Transparency Supersampling: 4x Sparse Grid Supersampling
- Anistropic Filtering Mode: User Defined/Off
- Anistropic Filtering: 16x
- Texture Filtering - Quality: High Quality
- Ambient Occlusion Setting: High Quality
- Ambient Occlusion Usage: Enabled
Using DAO-ModManager and Resolving Conflicts
In DAO there are two types of mods, DAZIP and loose files. DAZIP is a complete mod packed using the Dragon Age Origins Toolset from Bioware. Originally, these mods were installed using the supplied DAUpdater.exe in the main game folder but due to various bugs found it is recommended to use a mod manager such as this one. These types of mods are generally gameplay or new content mods. Loose file are as expected - loose files. These types of mods are used to modify dialog, facial morphs, and/or textures. DAO-ModManager additionally introduces an override format file (.override) which may contain an installer or simply be a pack of loose files with mod information attached such as author, description, web address, etc. DAO-ModManager only handles DAZIP and override format mods and it includes a tool to convert loose file mods into override files for use in the manager. Upon installation of an override mod, file conflicts are checked and a message box will pop up stating if a newly installed mod is compatible with the currently installed overrides. It should be noted that in DAO the file path does not affect the usage of a file, however load order in your override folder is very important. Basically, the game reads files and folders (which take precedence over files) from bottom to top (for example, from Z to A or 100 to 1). An example: There are two files named alistair.utc. Both serve the same function (they modify the character), but contain different modifications. We put these files into two different folders, which we will call "1. Alistair Diff Clothes" and "2. Alistair Diff Clothes & Stats". Notice that this put the file which modifies more to be loaded first. That way all of the modifications will be used and there will not be a need to delete or modify anything since the game will load the desired file first and won't bother with the other. This makes things a bit easier to manage. Keep this in mind before modifying the contents of a mod or before installing other conflicting mods. However, the only absolute way to be sure you have eliminated conflicts is to remove one of the offending files.
DAO-ModManager should automatically set itself up with the proper game and mod paths on startup. This can be verified on the "Options" tab. Inside the folder where DAO-ModManager is installed there should be a mods folder with two sub folder DAZIP and override. These will be where your base mods are to be stored. DAZIP mods can be directly placed into the mods/DAZIP folder and .override mods can be placed directly into the mods/override folder. To process a loose file mod, perform the following:
Extract the loose file mod to a temporary folder. Open DAO-ModManager and click [New Override Packet] on the "Override Creator" tab. In the resulting pop up box, type the name of the mod you are installing and click [OK]. Fill in any mod information available such as author, description, url, etc. as desired. Click the packages/core/override/<Mod Name> folder in the bottom left pane then drag and drop the extracted loose files into the right pane. Once all files have been added, click [Create Override Packet] to finalize.
This process creates a <Mod Name>.override file in the mods/override folder which you can install using DAO-ModManager. If for any reason you want to edit an override (such as resolving a conflict), simply select [Edit Override Packet] then select the override file to repeat this process. Note that it may take a few minutes to create large overrides.
The Warden Comes
- The Chantry teaches us that it is the hubris of men which brought the darkspawn into our world. The mages had sought to usurp Heaven. But instead, they destroyed it. They were cast out, twisted and cursed by their own corruption. They returned as monsters, the first of the darkspawn. They became a blight upon the lands, unstoppable and relentless. The dwarven kingdoms were the first to fall. And from the deep roads, the darkspawn drove at us again and again, until finally we neared annihilation... until the Grey Wardens came. Men and women from every race, warriors and mages, barbarians and kings, the Grey Wardens sacrificed everything to stem the tide of darkness, and prevailed. It has been four centuries since that victory, and we have kept our vigil. We have watched and waited for the darkspawn to return. But those, who once called us heroes, have forgotten. We are few now, and our warnings have been ignored for too long. It may even be too late, for I have seen with my own eyes what lies upon the horizon. Maker help us all. --Duncan
With the basic foundation of the journey complete, the Warden strides strongly into the main quest of his journey. The important points to remember when installing mods are as follows:
- Mods should be installed in the order presented. Any deviation from a standard installation will be clearly marked such as removing conflicting files.
- Loose file mods may be separated into conflict groups so they are combined prior to creating the .override for DAO-ModManager.
- The recommended options and/or texture sizes will be specified next to the version number.
- Backup a copy of the original mod archives on your computer in case a mod is ever taken down or you need to reinstall.
Generally, any documentation or extraneous files do not need to be included in the override.
This section is dedicated to mods that affect global character looks and character creation.
Conflicts found for chargenmorph.xml within this section should be ignored as it will be fixed using the CharGenMorph Compiler tool.
Dialog and Story Mods
New Story Content
This section is for overhaul mods which change large amounts of game files. Due to the large number of conflicting mods, these are installed last to easily identify files conflicting with more specific mods.
All Good Things Must Come To An End
Post Install INI Tweaks
Some mods installed during the previous section require ini tweaks to be used for proper operation.
This file can be found in My Documents/BioWare/Dragon Age/Settings.
Xatmos Lock Bash settings are read from the ini file, most of the options are self explanatory. Some extra details on the less obvious ones can be found on the mod page. Append the following to the bottom of the ini:
Instructions for how to run ChargenMorphCompiler go here. (TBD)