Setting up and playing with the new units and buildings.

We have released several addons for Dark Reign, mainly for scenario developers to include in new scenarios. However, they should also be able to be used by people who just want to have a play with them :)

It is important to note, however, that these units are not considered to be part of any existing sides in Dark Reign, and exist solely for addon purposes. With this in mind, we have set up these addons so that they do not interfere with the main configuration files of the game - basically, they are scenario specific units. A result of this is that they will not appear in any other scenario other than the one you download with it - unless you put them in other scenarios.

It is possible to configure these new units so that they are in every scenario - however, that is not advisable for several reasons:

- It will change the default text files and thus make it impossible for you to play with anyone else who still has the default text files.

- The new units have not been playbalanced with existing units, and thus can seriosly alter the delicate balancing of the game.

Therefore, by default, the addons will only install themselves into a single scenario each(a very simple default scenario).

Please note that all of these downloads are zip files so you will need winzip to unpack them. You will find WinZip at the following site

Installation of Single Units.
To install these add-on packs, you must first download them from Auran's site, then unzip them locally into a temporary location on your hard drive.

The zip file contains a batch file that will setup these add-ons for you. It will create a specific scenario for each add-on unit or building. You can play these scenarios by going to SINGLE PLAYER/PLAY CUSTOM MISSION from the main menu, and then selecting the add-on name as the mission to load.

The batch file CANNOT be run successfully by double-clicking on its icon from within Windows! To use the batch file properly, you must first open an MS-DOS prompt. Go to the temporary directory in which you unzipped the add-on zip file.

You then need to type the name of the batch file followed by the directory in which you installed Dark Reign. The batch files have the same name as the zip file (ie, MISSILE.ZIP contains a MISSILE.BAT file). An example of this, if you installed the game into the directory C:\DARKREIGN:

missile.bat c:\darkreign

If you installed the game into the directory C:\PROGRAM FILES\ACTIVISION\DARK REIGN (the default installation directory), it would be:

missile.bat c:\"program files"\activision\"dark reign"

Note the addition of the quotes around the words "program files" and "dark reign"! These are very important to include if you installed the game into a directory which has spaces in its name.

Installation of multiple units.
Using multiple units in a scenario is a little trickier. You will have to do some editing of the configuration files yourself in this one. However, this is not too difficult, and is explained in this section.

Before we get started, I will just run through a very brief introduction on how the configuration files work. For a much more detailed description, you will need to download the Tactics Engine Manual.

By default, the configuration files are read of out $GAME\DEFTXT. These files are used in all the single player missions, and are the default configuration files for any scenarios that you create. However, if you wish to use custom configuration files for any particular reason (for example, playing with all the new units and buildings from our site) you can place these files in the scenario directory itself, and the game will read them rather than the ones in $GAME\DEFTXT.

If you open the $GAME\DEFTXT, you will see it contains a set of text files. These are the configuration files for the game. They are in standard ASCII text format, so you can use any text editor to customise these.

The text files contain a definition of everything that is in the game - units, buildings, overlays, animations. UNITS.TXT, for example, houses all the information about the units. If you have a look at that file in WordPad, you will see each unit has its own section.

To use a new unit, basically all you need to do is add the required information into the UNITS.TXT file. When you run the batch file that comes with the new units, it simply copies a new UNITS.TXT file into the scenario folder (for example in the case of the new Hover Assault Tank $GAME\SCENARIO\SINGLE\HOVER). This file differs from the main one in $GAME\DEFTXT only in that it has a new unit definition right at the bottom.

In fact, each new unit you download only has one new section in UNITS.TXT. So, say you want to make a new scenario that has all these new units in them (or modify an existing scenario, or even modify the master text files). First of all, create the scenario, or locate the one that you wish to edit. Copy the file UNITS.TXT out of $GAME\DEFTXT into this directory. Then, open your favourite text editor, and for each of the new units, browse right down to the end of the UNITS.TXT file that comes with it. The last unit definition in each one is all you need. Then, copy this section and paste it into the new UNITS.TXT that you copied into the scenario directory. So, what you end up with is a new UNITS.TXT, that has the same amount of new definitions in there as there are new units you want :)

So, basically, all you need to do is grab each of the new sections in these files and copy them into another UNITS.TXT file, right?

The Packfile Manager file
Almost right :) There is one other step, and that is setting up the Pack Manager Configuration File. This is fairly straight forward. The sprite files for the new units are placed in $GAME\addon\(UNITNAME), and need to be referenced in the PACKMAN.CFG so that the game knows to load the sprites.

PACKMAN.CFG works by loading the config file that is in the ADDON directory, thus enabling access to the sprites in the packfiles.

As a result, for each different unit (and thus different packfile) that you wish to put in the game, you need to add it into the PACKMAN.CFG file. Additional packs get added by appending the path on the end of the first string, like so:


The master PACKMAN.CFG is located in $GAME; you can actually define these sprites in the [sprites] section in this file if you wish them to be loaded for ALL scenarios. (Note however, that this will only load the sprites into memory, it will not make them active in the game - you still need to do all the text file stuff for that!)

Installation of multiple buildings.
To install multiple buildings, you simply follow the same procedure as above - however, you have to do it for more files. A building has more files associated with it than a unit. For example, the Pulse Blaster has changes in the following files: ANIMATE.TXT, BUILD.TXT, OVLEFF.TXT, UNITS.TXT and WEAPON.TXT!

All the changes are, as with the units, right down the bottom of the text files. So, in the case above, you would need to just grab the last section out of each of the files, and copy and paste that into a new file of the same name.

Buildings are a little trickier, as you have to keep track of many sections in many files. Be careful you grab the right section!

Common files.
One file is common to both buildings and units: MLSTRING.CFG. This is the file that contains the names that appear for every unit in the game. This file is located in $GAME\LOCAL.

Again, for each new thing that you want to appear in your scenario, you need to create a new MLSTRING.CFG file and copy the changes that have been made from the MLSTRING.CFG in the new units/buildings directories.

To summarize, there are three main steps you need to do when putting the new units and buildings into scenarios:

Copying and pasting the relevant sections from any changed text files into new text files.

- Creating a PACKMAN.CFG in the scenario folder that points to any new graphics packs you need to load.

- Creating a new MLSTRING.CFG that has the new entries for the new units/buildings.

All text and images Auran 2000 / 2001. All rights reserved.