Meatloaf's Excellent Guide to Custom Textures
""An Excellent Guide"
Using custom textures in Dolphin allows you to give the game a fresh feel; changing HUD skins, texture quality, or just making things look dumb. For example, here is a screenshot of what my game looks like:
Even if my style of texture mods isn't your cup of tea, the point is that you can basically change the appearance of anything in the game.
Step 1: Settings
First of all, you need to enable the Custom Textures setting in Dolphin. You can find this under the Advanced tab in your Graphics settings:
Whilst you're here, also enable the Dump Textures setting - we'll need this to figure out which files to replace (you can disable it when you're done).
Step 2: Finding your Game ID
Depending upon which ISO for Phantasy Star Online you're using, your Game ID will be different.
It's important that you know what your Game ID is so that we can be sure you're using the right folders later on.
To find out what it is, right-click the PSO EPISODE I&II entry in your Dolphin game list, and select Properties:
Then, go to the Info tab and you'll be able to see your Game ID - take a note of this for later steps (especially if you have a lot of games on Dolphin).
Here we can see that my Game ID is GPOP8P - this is unique to the European copy of PSO.
Step 3: Locating the texture folders
Next, we need to locate the folders where Dolphin:
- Stores our game's Dumped Textures
- Stores our game's Custom Textures
First, navigate to your Dolphin Emulator folder - this is usually located in the Documents/My Documents folder.
It should look something like this inside:
There are two noteworthy folders here:
- Dump (Dumped Textures) - if this folder does not exist yet; it will once you've played your game for a while with the Dump Textures setting enabled.
- Load (Custom Textures) - if this folder does not exist yet; create it yourself.
Within the Dump folder you should find another folder with the same name as your Game ID. Inside is where Dolphin will dump any textures (as a .png file) that the game attempts to load as long as the Dump Textures setting is still enabled.
What is important here are the filenames for each texture - in order to successfully replace any of these textures, you need to create an image file with the exact same name.
Step 4: Replacing Textures
Now, navigate to the Textures folder inside your Load folder - from here you should be able to see another folder with the same name as your Game ID.
This is where we must place all of your custom texture files in order for Dolphin to load them.
Your custom texture file must:
- Have the EXACT same name as an existing texture
- Be a .png format image
- Be the same dimensions as the texture being replaced
So, the easiest way to achieve this is to simply copy a texture file from the Dump folder over into the Load folder, and then modify it with your preferred image-editing software of choice!
Alternatively, place an image file you've previously prepared or downloaded, and rename it appropriately (see step 5).
Step 5: Using existing skins from PSO:BB
Many years ago, there used to be a dedicated skinning community for PC versions of PSO. And fortunately, archives of their creations can still be found online! One of my favorites being Univers-PS, which contains an enormous range of skins for everything from weapons & mags, to HUDs and graphical effects.
However, upon downloading any of these packs and extracting them, you'll likely find that they're in a foreign format - a .prs file.
In order to access the images contained inside, we'll need to make use of the Schthack VMT tool.
Once you've downloaded this tool and opened it, access the Load option from the File menu and open up your .prs file. You should now be able to see a list of the images contained and preview them:
Now, highlight the image you need to extract and from the Image menu, select Export.
Alternatively, if you require all of the images, just use the Export All option.
Then, from the Save as type menu, make sure you select Windows Bitmap Format:
Then hit Save.
You will now have a series of .bmp images (or just one, depending upon which option you just used).
But as mentioned before, Dolphin uses the .png format. Fortunately, converting from one to the other is extremely easy - simply open up the file in any image-editing software and re-save it as a .png instead.
Once you've done this, copy the files to your Load/Textures/Game ID folder and rename them to their appropriate names!
Need help? Me too.
Just kidding - post about it!