Tiberian Sun .MIX files and modding tutorial part 1

Tiberian Sun .MIX files are propietary storage files used for Tiberian Sun as well as a few other Westwood Studios games. There are several good tools out there that you can use to extract these files:

XCC is a visual editing tool that allows for easy extraction and manipulation of .MIX files and is what we’ll be using for this tutorial. The current version on the XCC Website, 1.47 didn’t work for me, so the link I’ve provided is to an older version of the program (1.21).

To start download XCC Mix Editor from the link above. Once you’ve extracted the mixer you’ll notice several executables. The following two are all that you should need to edit .MIX files:

  • XCC Mixer.exe – Main utility for viewing and extracting components of the mix files.
  • XCC MIX Editor.exe – Tool for inserting/deleting elements of a mix file.

In this tutorial we’ll be tweaking the in-game menu to show you the basics of editing the .MIX files and what you can do with them. To start, boot up the XCC Mixer and open gmenu.mix file located in your SUN directory. Make sure you have a backup of this file just in case. In the left most column what you’ll see now is the contents of this .MIX file:

xcc_mixer_main

There are several different file types that we see here:

  • .PCX – image files
  • .INI – configurations for the .MIX
  • .AUD – sound files

Select the newmenu.ini file in the XCC Mixer. On the right hand side column you’ll now see the contents of this file. For this tutorial we’re going to edit the Tiberian Sun main game menu. Scroll down until you see the following item:

[TiberianSunNewCampaign]
Type=Image
ID=1
Image=TB01nc
Highlighted=TB01nc-h
HighlightSound=CHOICE1.AUD
Origin=164,145
ActiveRect=164,145,312,30

This is the first menu item you see on the Tiberian Sun home screen. You can see this entry has several components, and most are self explanatory. We’re interested in 4 of them:

  • Image – the name of the .pcx file that represents the default state (inactive) of the menu item
  • Highlighted - the name of the .pcx file that represents the selected state (active) of the menu item
  • Origin – The top left corner, in pixels, of the item
  • ActiveRect – the selection box for the item. The four values are top,left,width,height

Let’s change the image and selected image. Right click on the newmenu.ini file on the left hand side and select extract. After you’ve extracted it, open in and simply change the Image and Highlighted values of the [TiberianSunNewCampaign] entry to be:

Image=TB02lm
Highlighted=TB02lm-h

Finally drag an drop your newly edited newmenu.ini file into the column on the left and right click on the left hand side column and hit compact.

tiberian_sun_modding_xcc_compact

Pay attention to the status text at the bottom of the window, as this will display system messages from the program. If the status bar says “Compact done” you have successfully overwritten the existing gmenu.mix with your own.

If you happen to see “Compact failed”, make sure you only have one XCC program accessing this file at a time. If you try to open the same .MIX file with several XCC programs you’ll be unable to save or compact the .MIX files. You can also try deleting the global mix cache.dat located in your XCC installation folder and trying again.

Now that your menu mod is ready, start the game, go to the original Tiberian Sun menu and you should see the first menu item is now also Load Mission but still takes you to the new Campaign screen. For the purpose of demonstration I went a little overboard and replaced every menu item (instead of just the first) with Load Mission. Behold my monstrosity:

tiberian_sun_modding_master

That should cover the absolute basics of editing Tiberian Sun .MIX files! Now that you know how to edit a few basic components, as well as know a bit about the XCC Mixer tool the best way to learn more is to start digging through the files and tinkering with them yourself. Just make sure to back everything up!

For more information on how to use the XCC Mixer check out the developer documentation: http://xhp.xwis.net/documents/guide_XCC_Mixer.html

There are a few useful resources on Tiberian Sun modding and .MIX editing out there you can check out if you need more info:

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