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The Zone Manual: Every Mod You'll Ever Need for the True Ukrainian Experience
By dusty_thoreau and 1 collaborators
So, you just stepped into a Steam sale, or someone has gifted you S.T.A.L.K.E.R. eh? Well, maybe we can help you. Just pour yourself a glass of Cossacks Vodka, and pray you survive the next blowout, rookie.
This is not our information, we are just humble messengers trying to show others the great experience had from a bunch of dedicated fans who originally compiled this information in order to bring others closer to a more immersive experience within this great game. You don't need to know a lot of tech to be able to mod S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The guide is made with new players in mind, so give the guide a thumbs up if you found it helpful.
Also all credit to this guide goes to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. General threads on /vg/. Kudos to those who made the videos, packs, text, and pictures that helped me, just as they will help you in your trek through some of the darkest places from Yantar to Chernobyl. A quick shoutout to http://cheeki.violates.me/, an index of any and all STALKER info not contained in this guide.
Starting Your Journey Into the Zone: Your First Vanilla Playthrough
First off, if you don't already have STALKER, it's recommended you purchase it from gog[www.gog.com], as the steam integration breaks some mods and can occasionally cause crashes. Nothing insurmountable, but worth noting. If you already have a steam copy, you can sometimes use your steam key to redeem a gog copy here[www.gog.com].
Now before you get started, it's highly recommended that you install the Starter Pack, a collection of mods that offers a myriad of small improvements without altering core game. Steam's URL parsing is kind of ｓｈｉｔ, however so if clicking directly doesn't work then copy and paste this link into your web browser: https://mega.co.nz/#F!R5tnxQab!u1LS76bEVBuIrAZw6Py_3A
"Why should I mod Stalker: SoC?"
SoC is a rather old game, and shows its age first and foremost in graphics. The textures haven't aged well, the weather system is simplistic, etc.. Despite years and many patches, the game is still quite buggy. The Starter Pack fixes almost all of those issues and offers a number of optionals to improve the game's graphics.
Here's a list of the bugs that are fixed by the mods that are included in the Starter Pack:
Start it up, start a new game, watch the movie, then listen to the old fat man talk to you for a bit. When he shuts up (or if you don't want to listen to him and just want to listen later and start a new game anyway) save, and then enter the options menu.
The thing you have to know with SoC is that originally, the game's difficulty was scaled down due to publishing demands that the game would be "too hard" for most audiences. This is incorrect. Which is why you should do the next thing that I tell you.
Go to the difficulty settings in the options menu and change the difficulty to Master (the hardest difficulty). You do this because this is the Normal difficulty setting for the game. The game's default Normal setting is a lie, and you are a sausage-sucking snork if you play it on anything else. More importantly it improves AI and gun-damage, to BOTH PARTIES (meaning fair is fair, you aren't a super powered being compared to everyone and everything else in the zone; someone shoots you in the head, you die just as instantly as anyone else(add. the AI is also significantly less intelligent on lower difficulties)).
Here's a more in-depth example:
The HIGHER your difficulty, the MORE damage the weapons cause - this works both ways! The AI also gets a bit smarter the higher the difficulty is set. Enemies do NOT get any HP boosts or something. All in all Master difficulty improves realism and atmosphere. The LOWER the difficulty, the harder the time bullets have of finding their mark. Thanks to a little value called hit_probability_gd_<difficulty> a certain percentage of bullets quite literally disappear from existence the second they're fired; on the lowest difficulty, Novice, shots fired by you and the enemy have only a 40% chance of registering a hit no matter how accurate you or your opponents are.
Next, continue through the options and Disable your crosshair. Trust me, you don't need it, you don't want to hip-fire unless targets are just a few meters away from you. The crosshair is largely useless, since you'll be using the ironsights throughout the entire game anyway. Additionally, SoC is a very atmospheric game, and having a useless ♥♥♥♥-off huge plus sign plastered all over your screen is a bane to immersion. If you're really hardcore, you can even disable/reenable the hud on the fly with the "-" & "+" keys, respectively.
Okay now exit the game.
Next what we are going to do is acquire Zone Reclamation Project (ZRP), and any other mods you want from the Starter Pack. While all the mods are entirely optional and (should) play well together, I can't recommend ZRP enough; it offers nothing bug-stomping and bug-squashing and an all around bug-icide.
Tweaking Things In and Out of Game
>measuring FPS You can see fps-counter and other stats by typing this to console: rs_stats 1
>Performance tips: The in-game AA slider DOES NOT WORK in SoC. You gotta force AA on through GPU's control panel. Avoid anything above 2x for minimal performance hit!
In CS and CoP, if you use ENHANCED FULL DYNAMIC -mode, set its three specific settings (SSAO, Sun Quality, Sun-shafts) to LOW. You won't notice quality difference, but your performance will skyrocket!
Another easy way to improve visuals and reduce random stuttering is to lower Vision- and Lighting distance, plus Object-Quality bar to around 50%. Again quality difference is minimal, but fps improves. Reducing the Grass Density a point or two also may help stuttering outdoors.
>Stretching shadows in the borders This is a common bug with widescreen monitors, where the shadows of the terrain get "sucked" into the borders of your screen. It can be easily fixed by opening your console while in game, and typing these two lines in:
r2_sun_near 20. r2_sun_near_border 1.
>Head bobbing Some people find the head-movement in Stalker SoC a bit annoying. True, it is a bit over-done with default settings. Before tweaking it though, I'd suggest editing the FOV with the FOV Switcher. Something ~75 is much better for widescreens than the default 55, and helps to reduce the sickening effect for.
The cam_inert 0.1 console-command helps you to reduce the "floaty" effect of the camera, helping you to reduce the bobbing. It also fixes the AMK's "spinning" effect when shot.
ZRP mod has its own modifier.exe in the Gamedata, which you can use to edit many parameters of the game. From here you can choose either one of the 3 pre-set headbobbing settings, or edit the values manually. I'd recommend 50-75% reduction, but not total removal of the shake effect. if you don't use ZRP, look for Effectors.ltx in your gamedata.
>Short MC in vanilla SoC / ZRP the player's eye-level is too low compared to other humans by default . You can edit this with ZRP's modifier again, in the Actor.ltx -tab. Rise it from default 0.85 to 0.94 Most overhaul mods do fix the player's height by default.
If you have any issues with stuttering, and/or if your game is taking a really long time to load area locations, you can type in console (using the ~ key) the command "-noprefetch" to stop it.
-Check your other Options and key-bindings! Read the Manual! These can teach you more than you'd imagine. -In the beginning, choose to get "Brainwashed", this gives you a short tutorial. -Read your in-game PDA often! -In fights, always use cover. Stay low. Aim with your weapons. Set automatic guns to semi or burst-mode for more accuracy. -Aim for the head. From long distance aim at center mass. -Select your ammo-type according the enemy. AP-rounds against most humans, regular ammo against mutants or less armored personnel. -Loot you can't carry? Ferry it over to a nearby stash and you can come back for it later. -Explore! You may find tons of free items, alternative routes and interesting things. Just remember to save often! -Take only what you need. Vodka and food weigh a ton, so don't have too much with you. Only loot what you need, or what you can sell quickly for some nice cash. So what is "only what you need"? For rookies we recommend the following (vanilla/Starter Pack only):
Primary Weapon, 1x - A rifle of some sort, automatic or semi-auto. Stay away from shotguns though, as they lack the requisite range.
Ammo for Primary, ~10x - The amount you carry should vary depending on how long you will be out and how much opposition you expect to face, but a good rule of thumb for vanilla is 10x the weapon's magazine capacity. Never, EVER carry more than 500 rounds at a time.
Secondary Weapon, 1x - Not usually recommended if you have a good Assault Rifle for your primary, as reloading most ARs is as fast or faster than drawing a handgun. An MP5 can be a useful backup for a sniper rifle, and a shotgun is always useful for mutant hunting, but you're typically better off foresaking handguns entirely.
Ammo for Secondary <5x - 5x the weapon's magazine capacity should be more than enough to get you through any engagement.
Grenade, 6x - Very useful in anti-personnel capacity, and if you can sneak up on a mutant. Try to do a 1/2 split of RGDs & F1s and pick the best grenade for the job. Once you get a better arm for the nades, bring it down to 4 or even 2 total.
Bandage, 20x - They're cheap, light, and until you know what you're doing you'll need a constant drip-feed of them. Experienced stalkers, however, can comfortably get by on 1/2 the recommend amount, or even less.
Medkit, 12x - The bandage's bigger cousin, medkits are useful for deeper wounds (which really should go without saying). If the opportunity presents itself, trade out regular medkits for their scientific or military counterpart. Experienced stalkers can comfortably get by on 1/2 the recommend amount, or even less.
Anti-rad, 5x - If only we had such an easy cure for radiation poisoning. Depending on where you're going, you may want to consider carrying up to twice as much, but 5 should plenty last you for general stalking. Scientific medkits can do double duty and count for a portion of Anti-rad.
Vodka, 4x - An acceptable--if not desirable--alternative to Anti-rad; RPers might want to take a couple bottles for relaxing by the campfire, but everyone else should avoid if possible.
Tourist's Delight/Diet Sausage, 2x - Because you're a growing boy; avoid the "bread"[i.imgur.com] though if you can as it provides little in the way of nourishment.
Energy Drink, 3x - Red Bull gives you crack-cocaine; this potent energy drink completely refills your energy and is a must when you need to make a hasty get-away but are over-encumbered.
Keep roughly to this, and you should always have plenty of free-weight to bring back artifacts, and maybe even a few guns for your gun collection.
Finally, stick with the game. It gets better, more awesome, and in a way "easier" the further you get! Don't let the beginning discourage you!
...good hunting, stalker...
WHY COMPLETE IS NOT VANILLA 2.0
- All weapons have their accuracy increased by 10-20. - Damage done to everybody is decreased by various percentages. - Weight limit is increased by 10kg, the maximum being 70kg. In vanilla, the Exo-suit enabled up to 80kg! - Limits NPC's eye sight distance so they can't spot you from beyond ~100 meters. Said to remove enemies skill to spot you from "unrealistic distances," but really means you always see them first every time. - Sound radius of the knife and other critical sounds such as death cries, falling dead bodies, night-vision goggles, grass, and footsteps are greatly reduced. - scientific suits with 90% rad protection now feature an anti-rad injection system. - Bandages auto-apply at 10% health.
The following features are also available in other mods, but are usually balanced out with other forms of difficulty:
- You can bribe hostile factions to leave you alone. - A repair kit that lets you service your armor and weapons without the need for a trader can be bought from traders. - The bar trader and Screw now sell weapons and armor repair services. - Elite Nightvision, essentially the black & white night vision based on the psy_antenna postprocess effect, replaces the original UV-based blue NV. Perfect vision in the dark is now possible, even without a real light source.
In short, it makes the game a bit easier than vanilla, which may be fine if you are a pure-FPS type of player.
An older version of ZRP is used for Complete 2009's bug fixes. It lacks the Permanent Radiation Bug fix but you can add that. Just search for the fix if you need it.
Somewhere, sometime, somehow your game is eventually going to crash. If you're reading this, chances are it just did. Depending on what you're playing the frequency can range from almost nil (Starter Pack) to constant, even minutes apart (SOUP). Thankfully, unlike most other games, especially that other open-world FPS/RPG troubleshooting crashing in STALKER is a much more direct, even simple affair; all you need to fix 9/10 errors is a text editor and some chutzpah. So first off for sanity's sake don't use notepad. Get notepad++[notepad-plus-plus.org] or some other half-decent text editor. For the love of god, just do it.
Luckily for us, GSC worked pretty hard to make their engine and debugging tools pretty robust, the most important being BugTrap. BugTrap appears when the game crashes, and has all the general info including the crashlog. Here's what it looks like: There's two kinds of crashes: bad crashes and worse crashes. Bad crashes crash to BugTrap, worse crashes just get a generic windows error of "XR_3DA.exe has stopped responding". Mercifully, worse crashes are rare. Generally you have to ｆｕｃｋ things up pretty bad to get a worse crash.
So for bad crashes? Take a look at the BugTrap picture again: all that information there? That's useless. Instead, what you want is the crashlog and stack trace, which is automatically copied to your clipboard when BugTrap appears. Just open up your text editor and paste it in. You'll see something like this:
[error]Expression : fatal error What kind of error it was; fatal error = guaranteed crash, so you'll almost certainly never see anything else.
[error]Function : CInifile::r_section The type of procedure that was called which likely caused the error.
[error]File : E:\stalker\patch_1_0004\xrCore\Xr_ini.cpp The file that the above function was contained in. This can either be scripts added by a mod or the core logic of the game. If the file (in this case Xr_ini.cpp) is contained within the folder xrCore then it's probably an issue caused directly or indirectly by the core logic and very difficult to find. Otherwise, if the file's in a different folder then it's probably caused by a script added in a mod, and you can directly see the code.
[error]Line : 342 The line of code that caused the issue.
[error]Description : <no expression> This is usually empty. If it's not it may provide some clue on the cause of the issue.
[error]Arguments : Can't open section '' This section usually has the most information on the cause of the crash, and if you're lucky will even state it outright. In this case it's not very descriptive.
stack trace: The very last line(s) that could be printed before the game crashed. An empty stack trace is something to be feared.
Depending on the crash you encounter this section can be exceedingly verbose, or a whole bunch of nothing. In this case, it's a whole bunch of nothing, and just as bad as a worse crash. Not very helpful.
So what to do with worse crashes? There really isn't much, and most of it comes down to basic troubleshooting steps: rollback previous changes to the game, see if vanilla works, see if previous saves work, reset config, etc. Surprisingly, uninstalling and reinstalling can be quite productive, and will in most cases even let you load previous saves. The most important thing is establishing whether you can get the game into a circumstance where you're able to load a save without it immediately crashing. You'll want to keep lots of saves (I keep 10 per playthrough) as insurance.
If you can get it working, your game is potentially still salvageable. Next you'll want to try and figure out if it's consistent, based on time, location, or proximity to a person or object. First, go to alife.ltx and turn "switch_distance" down to something low, like 5, or even 1. Then let the game run for an ingame day, or preferably a week and see if it crashes. If it does, take note of the the ingame time and any abnormal conditions, and try again in a different location. Rinse and repeat until you have a good idea what's causing it. If it works no matter how long you leave the game idling, then it's most likely related to some specific entity: a prop, stalker, item, or even an entire level. Explore as much as possible and try and find out what it is by seeing where exactly you're located when it crashes. Experiment with your switch distance and try and get as close to the cause as possible. Depending on what's causing the crash you may or may not be able to fix it. You can easily remove an item by commenting it out, but not a stalker, and certainly not an entire level. Finally, don't be afraid to walk away; sometimes X-Ray just breaks, sometimes saves get corrupted, and sometimes the stars are aligned just so that you have a bad time. It happens.
Now let's put it all together with an example, this time with a bit more verbose crash. This crash is from Call of Pripyat, so the syntax may be slightly different but the principles are most assuredly the same.
Expression : fatal error Function : CInifile::r_string File : D:\prog_repository\sources\trunk\xrCore\Xr_ini.cpp Line : 513 Description : <no expression> Arguments : Can't find variable ammo_class in [wpn_aks74]
The file in the log, Xr_ini.cpp, is contained within xrCore, so that's a dead end. So are the Function and Line. No stack trace either, but there is a useful argument! It appears to reference something called "ammo_class" in wpn_aks74. Searching for wpn_aks74 in windows finds nothing, but just aks74 points to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat\gamedata\configs\weapons\aks74.ltx. Here's what appears in w_aks74 .ltx[pastebin.com], and with some ctrl+f magic it looks like there's nothing called "ammo_class", so that's almost certainly where our problem is. Since the aks74 is a weapon, it even says so in the name, other weapons should have "ammo_class", so let's check one out and see. Open w_akm .ltx[pastebin.com] and there's ammo_class on line 63! Only problem is the caliber's wrong, the AKS-74[en.wikipedia.org] fires 5.45x39mm, not 7.62x39mm which means it probably should ingame as well. We could go searching through the files to find the name of the correct ammo types, or we could also just copy and paste what's in akm and change the numbers, but one's risky and the other's a waste of time. It looks like the AKS-74U uses the same caliber though, so open up w_ak74u .ltx[pastebin.com] and on line 59 there's just what's needed! Copy it over to the proper section in w_aks74.ltx, save, and it works! This may have been an example, but you'll often find that the solutions to real issues are just as simple, and with a little DIY magic you can salvage a number of games that would otherwise be lost. All it takes is a little critical thinking.
Before Adding Any Mods Below...
There are mods out there that require a lot of things. It is always a REALLY good idea to read the readmes and information that the modder supplies on his/her site. I link these sites, and other information here, and a lot of times the information is already inside the mod .zip file itself, so don't forget to read these before installing, or you may screw the whole thing up!
One of the various requirements for some of these mods is that you have to have certain patches in order for the mod to work properly, like the 1.0004 patch. This can be a challenge with Steam, seeing as how it installs SoC with version 1.0005 by default. Here's how to work around that:
E: The ｆａｇｇｏｔｓ flaming homosexuals at VALVe block mediafire links, so head to this pastebin[pastebin.com] for a link or just visit the repo at the top, and sorry about the inconvenience!
What's so great about AMK? It adds a metric♥♥♥♥♥♥ton of new features, like whole new classes of creatures, blowouts (like a nuclear detonation but worse), wandering anamolies, and much much more! You think SoC was scary and difficult? My friend...you have never seen anything this terrifying and awesome before!
First run Amk 1.4 setup, then AMK EN patch final. Next paste the gamedata folder of the 1.0005 fix into the stalker folder, if needed. Install AMK Retranslated last.
If you're playing on Steam / 1.0005 patch, you also need to do couple manual tweaks: -First, locate a file called "xrs_grenade.script" in the gamedata/scripts, and delete it. -Next, you need to add a sound-file names "groza_silenced.ogg" into gamedata/sounds/weapons. Either rip it from any other mod, or simply copy ANY soundfile and rename it.
You can use same graphical mods found in STARTER PACK with AMK. In case of SWO2.2, remember to apply its own AMK-patch last, or your game will crash! [#FDL] = Full Dynamic Lighting, [#SL] = Static Lighting.
Alternatively, if you want an easy install pre-configured with a few basic add-ons, consider AMK:SE (Sidorovich Edition). This 1.0005 patched AMK easy-mode version comes with many of the fancy trimmings, at the cost of not being able to easily add your own. Though the moddb page and mirror are dead, you can still download the mod here[www.dropbox.com] & here[dl.dropbox.com].
The Zone of Alienation mod is an adaptation of the renowned AMK mod. It is built on top of a specialized variant of AMK that uses a magazine system. From this premise, it has expanded to aim to include the following:
Realistic ballistics. An expanded arsenal of weapons. Improved AI. An expanded and embellished storyline, from the original Shadow of Chernobyl, while preserving the original core plot. New levels. New characters. New quests. An artifact detection system, and new artifacts, with old artifacts having altered properties A realistic implementation of night vision, weight, sleep, and possibly weather even affecting the actor. Many visual improvements over the standard SoC, and AMK. Vastly increased difficulty. Optional freeplay with the ability to traverse every level of the game, and join any faction.
Be warned, for the uninitiated the combination of highly lethal weapons, enemies, and the sheer abundance of mutant spawns can make for an exercise in frustration. If you're still fairly green you might want to consider another mod, or you'll be in a world of pain. For the experienced, however, this is one of the most rewarding mods yet.
The L.U.R.K. team wants to provide the best possible experience from Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl, we don't plan to skew the scope of this game, because I, like many others, fell in love with the game because of the story, the realistic gameplay, and the atmosphere. I plan to preserve and improve on that concept to the best of my abilities, and our team has vowed to do so as well. Which is why we took it upon ourselves to provide that experience. We want to fulfill a niche that's otherwise unfulfilled in the modding community. We want to bring as many features to Stalker without damaging or changing the original theme of the game. While improving upon that concept with features that were dropped off the development cycle from GSC, such as stealth AI, and a strong foundation for balance, as well as dynamic A-Life, and an unprecedented visual presentation that no other Stalker Overhaul can touch.
One of the oldest overhaul mods, LURK has changed a LOT in the transition from version 1.0552 to 1.1, so choose carefully. If you get 1.1, make sure to also grab the Patch #1[pastebin.com] which fixes a number of niggling issues from the original release. A must if you enjoy pink and bloom in soft focus.
Imagine all the Zone has to offer, all in one place, ready to be explored...
Stop imagining and join the fun!
From Cordon to the Juptor Underground, across to Dead City and through the Hospital... Maybe some time in the swamp or maybe the Labyrinth, there are also the forests or maybe you prefer Limansk or Pripyat or ...
You have a lot to choose from and on top of that...
The most versatile game ever: TB3D_Modders.script - a wealth of options ShaderSettings.txt - super easy shader options IN GAME Advanced Options menu
and many optional downloads.
Sure it is big, approximately 15gig of disk space and growing but with over 230,000 objects and counting it needs a little space.
This is the "everything and the kitchen sink" mod of SoC. Though quality control is virtually absent, the mod compensates by having an order of magnitude more content than just about any other mod on this list. Unlike most kitchen sink mods, the gunplay works surprisingly well and there are relatively few balance issues. Be warned though that Soup is not particularly well optimized, and the loading times can last as long as a couple of minutes. However, it's by no means unplayable, and reliable enough the CTDs are by far the exception, rather than the rule.
Direct Mega DL[mega.co.nz] (outdated, recommended only if you get s h i t speeds from the official mirrors)
First idea which brought our mod to life was to recreate the game conception that we had waited for instead of the one we've got, as the original game release turned out to be crippled in content and gameplay features. So we, along with many other STALKER fans, were eager to make it closer to our expectations. OGSE mod was founded in 2008 as a small add-on to the well known OGSM mod, created by a small group of STALKER enthusiasts, and within the following years it has grown into a huge global mod, with lots of exclusive features and advanced gameplay, having totally surpassed its ancestor. Nowadays the OGSE mod has almost no shared code with the OGSM, and it's team consists of 17 developers and 15 beta-testers.
Our goals are:
1. Rich gameplay with high replayability. 2. Perfect stability 3. Perfect image quality with no loss in game performance.
These are very high goals to be combined in one mod, so our development process takes pretty much time, lots of it being spent on bugfixes and code optimization. Our mod doesn't contain that huge amount of features as e.g. the "Solyanka", but it is well balanced, highly technologically advanced, remarkably stable and free of logical and storyline contradictions. We also offer a good online support for our players.
Year ago we found out that our mod was popular even with foreign community - players were spending a lot of time installing OGSE 0692 on World-wide version of the game, and that is quite a non-trivial task, by the way. Even a rough translation was made by some enthusiasts. So it was decided to help the community and an official translation project was initiated. The translation is currently completed, and we are released the official English version of OGSE 0692. However, there can be some minor localization-related problems with it, because this is our first release for English version of game, so please report any found crashes or inconsistencies - we'll fix them ASAP.
(The acronym is short for "Old Good Stalker Evolution" btw). The mod is excellently optimized and very stable, though as a warning to any would-be modders out there the mod has been fully compiled for performance reasons, and if you want to get at the nitty-gritty you'll have to go to the trouble of manually decompiling and recompiling it.
Doom's Mod Merge
Facepunch’s own Sgt. Doom has developed this small mod merge combining the Freeplay mod and an unknown weapon pack. You can spawn as almost any faction member and do missions for the faction accordingly. (If I’m recalling this correctly that is, as it’s been some time since I’ve played it.)
The so-called "unknown weapon pack" is actually the weapons from LURK 1.1 ported over. This mod is about as close to total freeplay (because it IS totally freeplay) as SoC will ever get; if the phrase "sandbox world" gets you hard/wet this is probably your best bet.
A fork of DMM, this mod adds blowouts, stomps bugs, and a number of other small tweaks. It also includes a number of optionals and config files you can manually tweak to adjust your game to better fit your tastes.
Faction Fronts is a modification for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl that improves many factors of the game. The main aim behind this mod is to improve the games dynamics and introduce faction wars. Whilst also extending the games unforgettable atmosphere and bringing it's graphics to a present day standard. The zone is now much more unpredictable, dangerous, interesting, exciting, rewarding and beautiful. Every element will always be totally random and unique with every single game.
Approximately one year has passed since the Marked One's story. You are the military Lieutenant Priboi Slipchenko, and you were sent into the Zone... There was a secret organization, called UHSF, and they were responsible for the incident. They had a base at Dead City but the mercenaries wiped them out in the late 80's. The organization fell apart, and the last living members disappeared until today. Somehow this story is connected to the Marked One's story, and you'll eventually find out how. Over 20 important classified documents were hidden in the zone and you will need to find them to complete the puzzle. You will need to be "Sherlock Holmes" and dig deeper in the zone then you have ever done before. This is a re-release of the popular Priboi Story modification released in later January.
The second version of the Autumn Aurora brings the autumnal atmosphere to the Zone and totally overhauls the graphics, sound and gameplay of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl. The mod contains official AtmosFear for ShoC which has never been released before. AtmosFear has been extensively redesigned to match the autumn style. It also holds an official new Absolute Nature for ShoC (never released as standalone as well) with new tree models from AN3 CoP and some new ones.
It is the perfect opportunity for every S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fan to immerse again into Chernobyl universe in completely different style this time.
This mod plays a lot like Vanilla+, refining and polishing much of the existing content, but making very few changes to core gameplay. Overall, the mod is focused on atmosphere, which it accomplishes excellently with a combination of new and improved graphics and audio, along with smaller additions like new weapons and stalker models. Generally recommended for newbies who refuse to play vanilla or those wanting a more minimalist playthrough but less so for players looking for lots of new content.
Hoo boy, where to start. Modding in SoC can be--depending on your intent--notoriously frustrating or a very easy process. First off you can discount the idea of any first or third party tools to expedite/simplify the process, and something as simple as trying to mod a new animation in can be a Heraclean task. If you've come here for serious modding, you'd best look elsewhere as this guide will cover only the very basics of tweaking the game to your liking, but rather doing it under the hood. Rather than a comprehensive guide, think of this as basic instruction to help you get started and a nudge in the right direction.
Ever remark on the ludicrous weight of a weapon, Marked One's ridiculous running speed, or just want to become invincible for ♥♥♥♥♥ and giggles? Welcome to the wonderful world of .ltx modding. In SoC, most item, character, and monster property (including yours) are controlled by the variables contained within these ltx files. By changing them, you change your gameplay experience in the most subtle or overt ways, depending on your taste. First things first though, you'll need a mod. Unfortunately, the vanilla game is compiled into files called "gamedata.db(x)", the (x) representing a letter for each archive (a, b, c, etc.). Cruise on over to your SoC directory at steam/steamapps/common/STALKER Shadow Of Chernobyl/ and you can see these files for yourself. We hate these files, we hate them very much, because these files mean that we can't get at the delicious .ltxs contained within.
So find a mod that you like and grab it. Just about any mod except OGSE should work, though if you're reading this guide it's likely your first time playing, I'm guessing you'll be using Zone Reclamation Project[www.metacognix.com]. A word of warning a huge number of files, including some of the .ltx files we'll be editing aren't used by default in ZRP; check the "optional" folder in the original file's directory, and make sure the modifier.exe uses the right file (you can verify it uses the correct file by checking out gamedata/modcfg/ in your SoC directory. That all being said, you might want to just settle for the modifier.exe included with ZRP and come back for your next playthrough, or even run an entirely different mod in tandem! One of the coolest things about SoC is how easy it is to switch between completely different mods. since almost all mods are just a "gamedata" directory you could easily juggle a dozen or so mods at the same time: just rename your gamedata folder and change the name of the mod you want to play to "gamedata" and you're good to go.
I'll be using "Doom's Mod Merge", which is about perfect for getting your feet wet. Now then, enough chatter, let's finally get to the meat and potatoes of it. Head back to your SoC directory ( steam/steamapps/common/STALKER Shadow Of Chernobyl/ ) and go into gamedata, from there you should see a folder named "config"; this is where we'll be spend the overwhelming majority of our time. From there you can really dig in. Find an interesting looking .ltx file and open it up in Notepad, Notepad++, or the like. Note that certain changes take effect whenever you load a save (so you can easily alt-tab in and out to test it), whereas others only take effect when you restart the game, so if you're not seeing any changes, be sure to try it both ways. I'll be over here when you're done experimenting.
Mod Things Yourself! - Marked One
Right then, ready to go? Good, so our first mod will be pretty simple: an invincibility hack, which I really shouldn't need to explain further. So, go back to gamedata/config/creatures/ and find "actor.ltx". This controls who else, but the Marked One himself. Scroll through and you'll see a number of properties, which run the gamut from self-explanatory to completely obtuse. What we're looking for is a line called "[actor_immunities_gd_novice]"; this controls the percentage of damage each different type of attack does to you by default on novice difficulty, with 1.0 being 100% full damage. Just work your way down and change all of the immunities to 0.0. Before you save, double-check your work, which should look something like this
burn_immunity = 0.0 ;êîýôôèöèåíòû èììóíèòåòà (this bit above is a comment in cyrillic, noted by the semicolon before the statement)
strike_immunity = 0.0
shock_immunity = 0.0
wound_immunity = 0.0
radiation_immunity = 0.0
telepatic_immunity = 0.0
chemical_burn_immunity = 0.0
explosion_immunity = 0.0
fire_wound_immunity = 0.0
Start up the game again and voila! You're now invincible to all forms of damage on novice difficulty, sans radiation poisoning, whose properties I can't find to save my life. You can do this for any difficulty, but why you'd do it for anything other than novice is beyond me.
Now for something completely different, we'll be changing stances. In vanilla you might have noticed how wimpy Marked One is in this regard, his high crouch looking more like an old man with a cane than a professional...well anything. Let's fix that! Find a line called "ph_box0_center": this and the the other ph_box lines control camera height and hitbox size in the various stances. Replace the values with
And just like that high crouch is low crouch, and low crouch is prone. Now you can crawl like an adventurous baby: under trucks, on top of roofs, under train tracks, and even on tables and shelves.
Finally, let's do a weight change...err...change in the weight that the Marked One can carry (no liposuction here boss). 50 kilograms is a lot of weight (110 lbs.!) to be able to carry sprinting across entire maps, too much certainly for the hyper-realistic survivalists, yet too little for the rookies and pack-rats that just want to have fun shooting♥♥♥♥♥♥and selling everything not bolted to the floor. Well then, let's make everyone happy: two lines control the amount of weight you can carry, but unfortunately are in entirely different places. What we want is "max_item_mass" and "max_walk_weight": item_mass controls the weight (in kg) before you are over-encumbered, and walk_weight the weight before you can't move at all. Tweak those to your liking (I use 40 and 65 for low stalking weight but high loot carrying weight) Adjust as you like, and save!
There's plenty more to do in actor.ltx, but I'll leave that to you.
Mod Things Yourself! - Trading 101
Remember when I said it was time for something completely different? I lied (sorry). This time we'll be doing something a bit more of a change of pace: trading. Go to gamedata/config/misc/ and find one "trade_generic.ltx"[i.imgur.com]. If you look, you'll notice quite a few other "trade_(____)" files; these are configs for all the traders in the game, including a rather generic one for all NPCs not designated traders. Depending on the mod and the number of merchants in said mod this list can get quite long, but in just about every mod there should be a few constants: "trade_trader" for Sidorovich, "trade_dolg" for the Duty merchant (Colonel something-or-other), along with the standard barman/freedom/ecolog/generic fare. Guess what ours does?
Open up that file, and you'll see that from here we can do quite a bit, namely change what inventory items our fellow stalkers are willing to buy and sell and how they'll pay/charge. "[generic_buy]" defines what stalkers will buy from you and what they're willing to pay, as dictated by "buy_condition = generic_buy" at the very top of the document; you could write an entirely separate NPC buy list if you felt so inclined, but (hopefully) you're lazy like me, so modifying the one that's already there will do. The two values following the equals sign might throw you off as they did me at first, but the whole thing is deceptively simple: the first value is the minimum they'll pay if they dislike you, the second one the max if they like you. If you want a fixed price, just make all values the same, and finally if you don't want them buying at all just type ";NO TRADE". Now let's make some changes. Idk about you, but one of the things that frustrated me endlessly in SoC when I first started playing was that NPCs stubbornly refused to buy your guns, even when they only had some ♥♥♥♥♥♥ Makarovs or sawed off TOZes. Let's fix that: find the items with the "wpn_" prefix and set a price you think nice, then repeat ad infinitum, but make sure it's in the buy section, not sell!
Whew, that was monotonous, wasn't it? Let's skip the hassle and get the sell condition out of the way quick. "generic_sell" dictates what your fellow Stalkers will sell to YOU in the same way "generic_buy" does, but with one exception: price calculation is different. Rather than the like/dislike variable, sell takes the mean of the two equals values and charges base price * mean. Change what you like, and you'll find it works much the same way. Done? great, now comes the really cool part: unlike much of the other ltx changes, you don't need to restart your game to see the effects, just quicksave and load your save and like magic, there it is!
Mod Things Yourself! - Trading 102
Piggy-backing on the previous section, "trade_barman" adds one more important condition: supplies. Set prices all day long if you like, but it'll do jack♥♥♥♥♥♥unless you have something for them to actually sell. Go back and find "trade_barman.ltx" in the same section and open 'er up. Give it a look, and you should see much the same thing at the top as "trade_generic", with the exception of a number of additional lists for the sell condition and something called "buy_supplies". What exactly you see will vary depending on your mod, but it'll likely look something like this:
The lists following "sell_condition" works the same as it did for "sell_generic" in generic.ltx, the only difference is that now there're more of them. Only one list can be used at a time, ergo the list used changes based on some scripted criteria, the criteria almost always being a quest you've completed. The first list is the last list to be used, and vice versa. So "supplies_start" is the supplies he has when you first meet him, "supplies_after_darkvalley" after you complete some "darkvalley" quest, and so on. "buy_supplies" works exactly the same way in that respect. The positive is that you can tailor prices and "supplies" to progress with the player (you!) or however you like. The negative, of course, is that unless you do some hardcore ctrl+c ctrl+v you're going to have to do 3x as much work.
What does it do though? The more astute of you (read: not brain damaged) long ago guessed that supplies = inventory, or what the merchants have to sell. For supplies, the two numbers following the equals sign are how many they have, and by what proportion they can vary. IE "6, 0.5" means the barman has 6 of the item, but can potentially have as little as half of the item, or only 3. This is where the most time-consuming editing is, as you have to either find the line for every item and set the inventory and sell-ability, or find the weapon name and add it in yourself. Monotonous as hell, but very rewarding when finally finished. To preserve your sanity I recommend not changing every trader inventory all at once, but rather only changing the config for one trader when you first encounter them.
Mod Things Yourself! - Armor & Weapons
Go to gamedata/config/misc/ and find "outfit.ltx". From here we can change armor properties, from cost to the # of squares it takes up in your inventory. Let's change the "Wind of Freedom" suit, shall we? Just ctrl+f and "freed--" ...strange, no results for Freedom...? Ah, but this is a UkrainianRussian name! It's probably ыдвлоаш or some such romanized cyrillic. Look for "svoboda_light_outfit" and we have a winner! It's a nice suit, but it's not a great suit. Nightvision would be nice, but there's nothing in the armor properties! Do some searching however, and you should find "nightvision_sect = effector_nightvision_bad" in one of the other armor properties. Just match that up with the other... and it looks like it goes just below "full_icon_name" and then just paste it in. That's a much better suit now, it might be just a bit too much better... let's increase the weight and price to compensate; NVGs are heavy, and expensive too. the "cost" and "inv_weight" properties aren't so hard to find, less still to change. And now that we've got a shiny new outfit to try out, let's get a cool gun to go with it, yeah?
Unfortunately, because weapon properties can vary heavily between mods I can't show an example for it, but I can point out several very cool properties that should be consistent between them all. Find a gun you like in gamedata/config/weapons/ and check out some of these: "ef_main_weapon_type ef_weapon_type" - dictates the weapon class and range at which NPCs will use it. More info here[www.gsc-game.com] "slot" - whether the weapon is a primary or secondary. 1 is secondary, for handguns and such, 2 for rifles. Bear in mind that "inv_grid_width" and "inv_grid_height" can be no bigger than the slot it's equipped to on your hud (3x2 in most mods) "rpm" - the rate of fire for the weapon, or number of rounds it fires per minute. Crank it up high and you can have a real super-gun. The sword cuts both ways though! Higher RPM means AI shoots faster to, and unlike you they're not affected by recoil! "fire_modes" - self-explanatory, what's cool however is that you can add as many firemodes as you like, just put in a comma then a new number and it will fire that many rounds in a burst at once, or use "-1" for automatic fire. Note that automatic only works with primary weapons.
Hope this was of some assistance, now get out of here Stalker.
Thanks for giving our guide a look, and please don't hesitate to share your opinions on the different mods listed above, or bring our attention to a new one not listed. This is meant as a community guide after all.