[MOD TOOL] Big Pharma editor

A little project I’ve started working on for a bit on and off now in my spare time is an editor for Big Pharma. I spoke with Tim about it a bit over Twitter and he seems keen on the idea. But for feature requests and generally knowing the heck modders really want (I’m just a programmer, not really a modder) I figured I’d make a thread here and see what kind of interest there is and where I should focus my efforts on most.

Since Big Pharma is limited to JSON file modding, the tool can’t do anything that you can’t do manually writing JSON. As such the tool is merely to assist in a few things:

  • Less error prone mods (no typos)
  • Visually seeing what the mod will do (with limitations)
  • Easily generate chunks of JSON that contain exactly what you want it to contain

A small preview of what state of the editor can be found here: i.imgur.com/nCVdKga.png

So my question to you guys reading this forum is: What would you like to see in the tool, do you even want a tool?
Eventually I hope to encompass everything the JSON files have to offer, so it is mostly to assign priorities to what you guys find most important vs what is changed the most in mods.

It’s a great iniciative which will encourage even more people to try out this modding feature.

As a modder, my last attempts were focused on the research tree (research.data file), and I’ve created a completely new research tree, more focused on specialization. Setting up connections between each project took me a lot of time, so it would be nice to have an easy drag-and-drop tool to connect projects, another tool for breaking them, and also a preview of the research tree to see how everything is connected. Being able to drag-and-drop projects to change it’s position could be interesting, too. In addition, it would be interesting to automatic generate a strings.data file based on changes made.

As for what I’ve seen, creating new cures was not possible on your preview, reaction requierements are not shown either… It’s obvious there’s still work to be done, but it’s a nice start point. Creating a functional modding API is a huge project. I’m also a programmer (I’ve recently started to work with Unity and I hope to become a game developer, like Tim, or at least collaborate with other people on the sector), so if you want any help, I could lend you a hand.

Yea, I’ve mostly been working on getting the backend data structure set up well (loading in defaults and loading in modata, which both work). Effects as you see it in the screenshot is a proof of concept for that data loading and backingstore entity editing. The last part that has been worked on was the language editor, which took more time than anticipated but should be fairly easily managed now once the views have been created. It’s mostly a thing for translators out there, but I needed to make part of it anyway in order to have drug names and stuff so I figured I make it a full fledged language resource editor out of it.

I do intend to make exactly what you describe for the research editor. I’ll be turning it in a sort of diagram style editor where you can drag individual research items to locations and play connect the dots to link items together. The visual representation will be exactly as in-game, as I will be trying with most screens.

I appreciate the help and once the basics have been set up I do plan to make the thing open source. Just right now it is kinda a project for me to experiment and help learn how to make these things, so it is a bit of a pet project.

I’d be more inclined to agree with SCHMID6SIG’s post about building editing. Research editing is nice, but as we’re very limited with what we can do with the tree beyond move things around, it doesn’t gain us much.
Building editing however, while similar to move-things-around, has the problem that the buildings themselves are very complex (or appear to be). So making that easier would probably be a larger win.

Personally I’m interested in the AI, but I’m not convinced there’s much that can be done without being able to create new logic.

I would like to see the ability to create new machines (considering my ideas for a mod I am working on, listed here), with the required coding of their effects that comes with it, but it seems that that is hardcoded in the “binary” game files and have no JSON equivalent I have found other than calls to the already-existing code.

Yea, adding new equipment doesn’t really work. The game loads it just fine, but there is no way to actually click the buttons until Tim adds it that way.

Looks like I will be finishing up Effects and then move over to Research. The map editor will require some planning and research on my end to build properly.

Let’s hope Tim will eventually add some extra hooks to the base code for us modders to use. :wink:
(Preferably with some documentation on what these hooks can and cannot do.)

I hope this relase soon!!! =)

I’ll be sad to say that it probably won’t be released. With the news that we won’t really have any point of interaction with the game for mods besides some JSON end points there isn’t much to mod and therefor not much need for a mod tool to help things out for people. Maybe in his next game where modding is more of a focus!

Yeah, I’m not getting far with my mod idea myself either. We’d have to hack the game code itself… and let’s just not do that.

seeims nice, but where can i download this editor?