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System Shock 2 Modding Guide
By Saleck
Mods. From texture upgrades to total conversions, they can make old games look and feel brand new again. Here's a selection of some of the best ones out there as well as how to apply them.
You'll also learn about Fan Missions here and how to play them.
The Program Files folder
Let's start off with some important information.

The Program Files folder is a protected folder within your Windows installation that works differently from other folders on your computer.

The long story short is that if you have your copy of System Shock 2 located within either the Program Files or the Program Files (x86) folder, you may encounter problems and some, or all, mods may not work at all. This varies from machine to machine and some people may not have a problem at all.

If you think you might be being affected by this, try moving your copy of Shock 2 from the Program Files folder into another folder like 'C:\Games' and launch it. If mods are installed correctly, they may start working for you.

If this is the case, you can make another Steam Library Folder using the Steam Library Folders feature. Go to View > Settings and Click the 'Downloads' Tab to find it.

Click Add Library Folder and make it anywhere you want.

Once you've done this, you can reinstall System Shock 2 into this new folder and move any save files and mods you have from your old installtion into this new installation!
Using SS2Tool to get your game mod ready
SS2Tool is a great program that allows you to apply multiple fixes to the game as well as getting the game fully up and ready for using mods.

SS2Tool Download Page[www.systemshock.org]

Download this tool, run it and point it to your System Shock 2 installation. Make sure that everything in 'Getting Mod Ready' is checked and Install the tool.

This tool will NOT function if your copy of System Shock 2 is installed in the Program Files folder. You will need to follow the steps in the Program Files section above.

Multiplayer is NOT disabled in this version of the game. However, if you use SS2Tool v5.1 without Enabling it in the Game Features option screen, it will become disabled again. If you intend to play Multiplayer co-op, remember to Enable it.
How to install mods
To install any mods, you will need to go into your Shock 2 installation folder (usually at <Steam Install>/steamapps/common/SS2)

In here, you will see 2 important folders: DataPermMods and DataTempMods. These are the folders in which your mod files will go.

DataTempMods (DTM) is a testing folder where you can place your mod files to see if you like them or if they work. They will overwrite any mods stored in DPM that would otherwise conflict with the mod you are testing.
DataPermMods (DPM) is for any mods that you are 100% sure that you like and want to use. Put the mod files in here so you can free up the DTM folder for testing any other mods you might like.

You can keep mods in both files if you like. DTM will load ahead of DPM when playing so you don't have to overwrite any files in DPM. if the game all of a sudden stops working properly, you can delete any recently added files in DTM without affecting any of your mods installed in the DPM folder.

Mods can come in one of two ways:
Standard .ZIP / .7z file. Simply extract with your ZIP software.
SS2Mod file. SS2Mod files are ZIP files with renamed File Extensions. You can either rename it's extension back to ZIP or extract the contents of any SS2Mod file with your ZIP software.

Inside these files you will find one or more folders. Fam, Mesh, Snd and Obj are just a few examples of what these files are called. Ignore any mod.ini files as they were used by a now non-functioning mod manager and are no longer necessary.

The general rule when modding, if you don't know which order you should apply your mods, is to apply the bigger stuff first and any smaller mods after. A lot of the graphical mods listed below will generally not conflict with each other. Mods that alter the SHOCK2.GAM or any .MIS files however will conflict with any other mod that alters/uses those files.

Just remember to never alter or overwrite any of the files inside the Data folder. These files are the default files and should not be touched unless you know what you're doing.

So now you know all this, all that needs to be done now is to choose what mods you want to use. Here are some of the best ones.
Graphical Mods
by ZylonBane et. al
Current Version - Beta 6
This mod upgrades all of the object textures as well as fixing typos, graphical errors and continuity errors. This mod sticks to the Shock 2 artstyle very closely and is highly recommended for all players.

Four Hundred
by ACC
Current Version – Release 17
This mod upgrades the terrain textures in the game. This mod is a relatively new one as altering terrain textures was not possible until the arrival of the 'NewDark' patch. Highly recommended for all players.

Hi-Res Space Textures
by Vurt
Current Version – v1.1
For a game set in space, you'll need some brand new space textures! A huge improvement over the original textures and definately worth checking out. Highly recommended for all players.

Flora Overhaul
by Vurt
Current Version – v1.0b
Upgrade the plantlife onboard the Von Braun with his very nice collection of improved models and textures. Highly recommended for all players.

Hi-Res Water
by Vurt
Current Version – v5.1, older versions available
Water water everywhere so let's all upgrade the old water textures with these hi-res, better animated water textures. Highly recommended for all players.

Organics / Goo - Potential Spoilers
by Vurt
Current Version - Varies
Improves the visuals of the annelid goo, egg textures and other smaller elements. You can mix and match from many different pieces of this one. Recommended for all players.
Weapon Model Mods
Enhanced Psi-Amp
by Eldron
Current Version – v2
Every OSA agent will want to wrap his mind around this new Psi-Amp model. It stays faithful to the default look and feel of the original Psi-Amp. Highly Recommended.

Tacticool Weapon Replacement Mods
by Mercurius
Current Version – varies
Here are some of the best weapon mods out there. Looking extremely cool whilst staying very close to the original's look and feel. No new sound files are added to these weapon mods so mix and match any of the mods as you see fit.
Enemy Model Mods -Potential Spoilers Ahead-
Rebirth 02
by Cyberblutch, ZylonBane, Voodoo47
Current Version – 02
This mod package vastly improves the models and textures of all of the monsters aboard the Von Braun and the UNN Rickenbacker including the Hybrids, Midwives, Assassins and Rumblers. It is worth seeing the default monsters first before you decide on using this but if the thought of looking at an enemy model made with less than 100 polygons fills you with disgust for your fellow man then go ahead and apply this mod.

Alternate Hybrid RebirthSkins
by ImpyNickers
Current Version – v2
If you feel that you want a Hybrid texture that looks closer to the original game's version then simply apply this set of textures over your installed copy of 'Rebirth 02', it will not work unless you have that installed first.
Music Mods
by Schatten
Current Version – v1.1
Shock 2 uses dymanic music recorded at a very low bitrate and split into many small pieces. This mod replaces the music files with higher quality versions taken from the soundtrack of the game. Highly recommended to all players.
Miscellanious Mods -Potential Spoilers Ahead-
Anomalies, Discrepancies and outright Bugs
by Straylight, Kolya, Nameless Voice and Miracle.Freak.
Current Version – v0.3.0
A massive bugfixing and balancing project that tries to stay as close to the developers intentions as it can. If you intend on playing co-op with this mod installed, make sure any people playing with you also have this mod installed.

Impossible Multiplayer Difficulty
by Crion
This mod will, upon creating a co-op session, set the difficulty to Impossible over the standard 'Hard' difficulty setting the game defaults all co-op sessions to. If you intend on playing co-op with this mod installed, make sure any people playing with you also have this mod installed.

No Spiders
by Jocke
Current Version – v2
Attention all arachnophobiacs! Now you need no longer fear the corridors of Deck 4 and beyond as all spiders have been completely removed from the game. If you intend on playing co-op with this mod installed, make sure any people playing with you also have this mod installed.
French Translation
by Koyla
Current Version - Beta 1
Translate your copy of Shock 2 into French with this mod.
Traduire votre copie de Shock 2 en français avec ce mod.

Italian Translation
by Koyla
Current Version - v1.2
Translate your copy of Shock 2 into Italian with this mod.
Tradurre la tua copia di Shock 2 in italiano con questo mod.

Spanish Translation
by Arkero99, Darkpadawan
Current Version - v2
Translate your copy of Shock 2 into Spanish with this mod.
Traducir su copia de Shock 2 en español con este mod.

Polish Translation
by Unknown
Current Version - v1
Translate your copy of Shock 2 into Polish with this mod.
Przekłada kopii Shock 2 język polski z tego moda.

Czech Translation
by Vex, Miracle.Freak
Current Version - 'NewDark' edition
Translate your copy of Shock 2 into Czech with this mod.
Přeložit kopii Shock 2 do češtiny s tímto módem.
The cam_ext.cfg file
The cam_ext.cfg file contains a collection of hidden settings to add things such as Bloom and Anti-Aliasing effects.

Simply find the file in your Shock 2 directory and Open it with Notepad. Find the D3D9 render options section about halfway down and have a look at what you can alter.

To enable commands simply remove the semi-colon in front of it. Example:
;multisampletype 8
multisampletype 8

You can have a good read and decide what options you want to enable. I like to enable the following:

multisampletype 8 - Enables Anti-Aliasing
postprocess 1 - Enables Post Processing Effects
bloomscale 4
bloom_range 2
bloom_saturation 0.7
bloom_threshold 0.85
Fan Missions
If you want to try something a little different after you've played System Shock 2, you could always try one of the many Fan Missions released for the game.

You can find System Shock 2 missions at the Thief Missions[thiefmissions.com] website

Once you have a few, you may be tempted to put them straight into your DataTempMods folder but hold on there! It's not that easy.

Long story short, Fan Missions (FMs) may not be 100% functional if you do this. Luckily, The NewDark version of System Shock 2 comes with a Fan Mission loader called FMSel.

To use FMSel, Right click on System Shock 2 in your Steam Games list and click Properties.

Click Set Launch Options and in that box, enter in -fm and click OK.

When you launch System Shock 2 again, FMSel will start and ask you to create an FMs directory. Click Yes.

Once you've done that, FMSel will ask you to specify a folder in which you keep your FMs so put all your FMs in one folder and have FMSel use that folder.

Once you've done that, FMSel will list all the FMs it finds in that folder.

From here you can do many different things:
Skip FM - Will Launch System Shock 2 without using any FM.
Play FM - Will Launch System Shock 2 with the currently selected FM. It will ask you to Extract Archive which, when Yes is selected, will install the FM into the FMs folder.
Start FM - Will Launch System Shock 2 with the currently selected FM and set your Status to 'Playing' (I presume this is used for things like Windows Live Messenger and other software)

You can also rate your FMs, Search for an FM in the Name text bar, Read any Readmes inside (Right click > View Info File) and many other things.

Here are some questions you may have:
All my Shock 2 save files have gone! What have you done?!
Don't Panic! Your save files are still there. When Shock 2 is launched with an FM, you get to have seperate saves! These are stored in your FMs folder and every time you launch that FM, you'll see your saves there again from the last time you played.

Will my installed mods work with an FM?
They should do! As you can see from the screenshot above, I'm using the Assault Rifle from the Tacticool bundle whilst playing 'Shocking Ruins'.

Can I install mods this way too?

Can I play Multiplayer with any of these FMs?
That depends on the FM. Read the readme and see if it mentions Multiplayer support.

Can I hold you responsible for anything daft I do like try to install Thief 2 FMs into Shock 2?
Always room for more
Thats all the mods I'll list for now. If you know of any others, leave a comment below and I'll consider adding it to the list.

Thanks for reading. If you want to see comparision shots of all of the mods listed above, you can visit http://www.saleck.net/creations/gamefixguides/systemshock2mods.php#graphicalmods to see them. You can also donate anything you feel like here too :)

Be sure to check out some of my other guides:

< >
Tonxabar (ES) Jul 5 @ 3:57am 
OK, my 2 cents here for new SS2 mods:

SS2 pistols with 2x1 inventory dimensions
That's how they should fit in the inventory.

SS2 Tacticool Weapon Replacements with hand model
Normally you shoot large weapons with 2 hands...

SS2 Eldron's Midwife as Nurse Bloome - Rigged by RocketMan
Nurse Bloom is a special Midwife... so be it!

SS2 Kolya Morris' Audiolog
An audiolog from another character, given to that character.

Thanks for reading!

For the Spanish translation, the phrase
"Traducir su copia de Shock 2 en español con este mod."
It should be:
"Traduce tu copia de Shock 2 al español con este mod."
TheHolyBope Jun 27 @ 11:08pm 
looks like it was some of the vurt mods like floral enhancemet and improved turret firing, that were causing the crashes, others work fine.
TheHolyBope Jun 27 @ 5:57pm 
I meant the final version, but thanks, I'm reinstalling all the mods and checking how the game runs after each one, most of the way down the list and no problems so far. Thanks for making this guide by the way, its really helpful.
Saleck  [author] Jun 27 @ 4:38pm 
@TheHolyBope - There kind of is one.


The DataPermMods folder is where files like Obj, Fam and Snd live. Don't have folders like 'Vurts Flora Overhaul' and then have the Obj, Fam etc. folder in there, that will not work and is probably the reason why your game is crashing.
TheHolyBope Jun 27 @ 3:23pm 
Can we get a screenshot of what the final permdatamods folder is supposed to look like, I must have messed something up in the process because now the game crashes after the first cutscene, and I'd like to know what I did wrong without having to redo everything. Thanks
Drunk Science Lady Jun 20 @ 2:55pm 
Thank you so much! Ever since rebuying SS2 for steam when they released it I've been thinking about installing mods and finally, today, a conversation with a friend sealed the deal.
MiC May 26 @ 3:46am 
Awesome guide! Thanks!
The Grinderman May 21 @ 11:35am 
Thx for the quick reply! Will ask them. Really don´t know what causes it. Thief 1+2 run fine and it´s the same engine after all. :/ Will check it out.
Saleck  [author] May 21 @ 11:31am 
A BSOD? thats quite odd and I'm afraid I don't know anything about that.

You should ask the creator of the SS2Tool for information. They will probably ask you better questsions than I could.

Go here and they would probably be able to help you out > https://www.systemshock.org/index.php?board=15.0

Hope this helps.
The Grinderman May 21 @ 11:18am 
thx for the awesome guide Saleck. I do have a problem though. Everytime I use the SS2tool I get a BSOD on starting SS2. If I start the game without applying it everythings runs fine. I even got all the mods you mentioned working. Do you know what causes the crash? And if the mods run without it; is there any benefit in installing the SS2tool? Would be nice if you could help me out :) Thank you very much in advance.

My system:
Win7 64
Intel Xeon E3 1230 V3
MSI Z87-43
Geforce 660 327.23 driver

I installed the game and everything else just as you mentioned it in your guide.