McMMM - Martin's Combat Mission Mod Manager


Version 4.0
by Martin Gregory  2003, 2004, 2005

(If you are reading this offline, the screenshots will be missing.   The version with screenshots can be found at http://www.gregories.net/McMMM/McMMM.htm)

        McMMM is "postcard-ware". Send me a postcare and use McMMM with my blessing. Or even better... donate using !

Contents

Overview

Installation

Operation

Setup
Loading Mods
Installing Mods
Uninstalling Mods

Other Features

Changing the Mod Name and Type
Loading Mods Quickly
Examining Bitmaps

Mod Sets
  Using Mod Sets
  Creating Mod Sets 

Multiple Combat Mission Installations, Getting Rid of Combat Mission Installations
Saving Disk Space

A Note about "CMMOS" mods

Notes to Modders

Overview

        "So, what is it that McMMM does then?"

Glad you asked.  McMMM is a tool that makes it easy to work with Combat Mission Mods. 

"Mods" are collections of altered artwork for Combat Mission intended to make it look better.   They consist of a series of "BMP" or "WAV" (for graphics or sound) files that have to be installed in place of the original Combat Mission ones.

This is what McMMM lets you do:

  1. You download a Mod from anywhere and put it in a "Mods" folder... with a couple of clicks McMMM installs it into your Combat Mission installation, and backs up the original BMPs (or WAVs).

  2. McMMM keeps track of what Mods are installed at any given time.

  3. If you don't like a Mod, at any time, McMMM can uninstall it again (restoring the original BMP/WAVs in the process), with only a click or two.

That's it. 

Oh, it also lets you look at the BMPs in the Mod, and look at the instructions, and pretty JPEGs in the Mod, without messing around with Zip programs, but that's just an added extra.

Actually, there's more, too.   McMMM lets you define a set of Mods that you might like to install or uninstall as a group.  A "Mod Set'.  With a simple click or two you can install or uninstall these all together.   So it's easy to swap your Normandy mods with your Greece mods.

And if a scenario that you download contains a "Mod Set Description File" that tells McMMM the where the Mods are located, then McMMM will download them for you.

--

To do its job, McMMM  needs to know:

If both these are the "normal" place, then McMMM will find them on its own.   Otherwise, you need to tell it: a job that is a couple of mouse clicks and you're done.

Then, you simply download Mods at your leisure, load them into McMMM when you are ready, and play around with installing and un-installing them as you like.

Or, if you got a "Mod Set Description File" (.mcs) with a scenario, then you can even let McMMM do the downloading for you!

Installation of McMMM

McMMM comes in a Zip file: McMMM.zip.

  1. Unzip McMMM.zip into a handy place.  The normal place would be in the "Program Files" folder, but it doesn't have to go there.

    This will create a folder called McMMM.

That's all you have to do.   Then, to run it:

You may like to create a short-cut to McMMM:

Operation

When you start up McMMM, after welcoming you the first thing it will do is ask you to send me a postcard.

If you do that, then press the "Sent" button, and McMMM won't hassle you again.  I'd really appreciate it if you do, but you don't have to.  

If you don't want to, you just press the "Later" button.  Or lie, and press the "Sent" button.  No-one will know, except you.

Setup

If you have the Combat Mission game installed in the "normal" placeCDV, and you have a "Mods" directory in the "normal" place (the default place that the installer suggests) then you won't need to set up McMMM at all.

If you want to have these things elsewhere, then you need to tell McMMM where they are.  

(This will apply to people who have the CDV version of Combat Mission: McMMM doesn't know where to find that.)

You do that by double clicking on the appropriate line in the "Game to Mod" panel

(Or by selecting the

                            Game->Set Working Directories

menu option.)

then use the "Browse" button to point to the right places.

 

If you have done this correctly, McMMM will see that the required directories are there, and will tell you (in the "Game to Mod" panel) that you are "Ready to Mod".   It means "yes, you can Mod this Game".

(In the picture above you can see that I am ready for CMAK and CMBB but not CMBO).

Loading Mods

Before you can use McMMM to install a Mod, you need to Load it.   This means "Tell McMMM that you are interested in this Mod".

  1. Select (by clicking on it) the Game Variant that you want to apply Mods to (if it's not already selected automatically).
    (This means "choose one of CMBO, CMBB, CMAK etc on the 'Game to Mod' page")

  2. Select the "Uninstalled Mods" page.

  3. Press the "New Mod" button.


     

  4. Select the Mod (which is a zip file that you downloaded from somewhere, or maybe even created yourself!).

Once you have done that, you will see one or more entries for this Mod in the "Uninstalled Mods" panel.

"Why might there be more than one entry?"

Because many Mods contain optional sections.   You might want to install some but not all of these.

If you want to try this out, but haven't downloaded any Mods yet, the McMMM installation comes with the smallest Mod that there is: CMBB_In_Command_Indicator.zip.   This is a CMBB Mod.  You can put it in your Mods directory and try it out, if you are CMBB user.

Installing Mods

  1. Click on the "check box" of the Mod(s) you want to install.

  2. Press the "Install" Button.

You hardly needed a manual for that  :-)

You can select more than one, and all the selected ones will be installed in one go.

What happens when you click "install" is this:

Uninstalling Mods

  1. Click on the "check box" of the Mod(s) you want to uninstall.  IE the Mods that you don't want to use right now.

  2. Press the "Uninstall" button.

This will replace all the BMPs of the Mods you selected with the originals that were in there before you installed that Mod.

With one exception.   If the Mod you are uninstalling is not the Mod that supplied any particular BMP, then that BMP is not uninstalled.  Good, eh?  

(How could this happen?   Easily.   But you have to follow closely, 'cause it can get complicated...

...if you apply Dorosh's ASL mods, which change all the terrain and buildings, then apply Juju's Church, which affects only churches... that will mean that you have Juju's Church, not Dorosh's.  OK?   Then if you uninstall Dorosh's ASL mods, McMMM knows not to replace the Church BMPs with the originals, because actually your Churches are Jujus!   It leave the Churches there, 'cause you were uninstalling Dorosh, not Juju.

Hopefully this is all just nice: even if it is complicated, you never have to worry about it :-) )

(What about if I uninstall Juju's Church instead?   Ah.  Yes.  Well, in that case you will be back to the original Church.   This was the simplest thing to do.  There are other ways that I could have made McMMM handle this situation: let me know if you think it should be different...  if you don't even see what the issue is, then I'm sure it won't bother you.)

Other Features

"I hate the name that McMMM gives to the Mod when I load it!"

That's OK: you can change it.

Change the Mod Name, and Type.

  1. Select the Mod you want to change (by clicking on it - preferably not the check box).

  2. Use the Mod->Mod Details menu item to bring up a dialog that lets you change the Mod Name
    Double-clicking on the Mod has the same effect.

  3. Type in a new Mod Name.  
    Ideally, type in or select a "Type" also.

  4. Press the "OK" button.

It's the same dialog that McMMM probably showed you when you first loaded the Mod.

"Yeah, OK, but what's this 'Type'?"

Its just something that lets you categorise your Mods.   This means that you can keep them sorted by Type, by clicking on the heading bar of the "Type" column.

"I want to change the 'Mod Section' name too!"

Sorry.  You can't.   The 'Mod Section' name helps McMMM find that bit of the Mod in the Zip file.   It would be possible to let you change the name, but is it really worth the effort?  So far, it seems to me: not.

Loading Mods Quickly.

If you get sick of McMMM showing you the 'Mod Details' dialog every time you load a Mod, you can use Options->Quick Load.

Then, when you press "New Mod", the Mods you select will get entered straight into the "uninstalled Mods" list without you being asked any questions.

"I'd love to look at the bitmaps that make up this Mod!"

Yes: you can!

Examining the Bitmaps (or Wav files)

  1. Select the Mod you want to look at (by clicking on it - preferably not the check box).

  2. Use the Mod->Mod Details menu item to bring up the Mod Details dialog.

  3. Press the "Examine Contents" button.

If it is a graphic mod, you will be able to look at both the BMP from the Mod and the currently installed BMP.

If it is a sound mod, you will be presented with the option to play either the WAV from the Mod or the currently installed WAV.  Play them by clicking on the green arrow.  

(McMMM will launch your media player to play the WAV.  Sometimes Microsoft Media Player can't play CMBB original WAVs.  Complain about that to Bill).

Examining the other files in the Mod

Many mods come with detailed information about the mod: detailed descriptions about options in the mod and JPEGs or other pictures of the Mod when its installed.  McMMM can show you these, or extract them so you can do other things with them:

  1. Select the Mod you want to look at (by clicking on it - preferably not the check box).

  2. Use the Mod->Mod Details menu item to bring up the Mod Details dialog.

  3. Click on the check box of the "other file(s)" that you are interested in.

  4. Press "Extract" to extract them or "Open" to have McMMM launch an application that shows them to you
    (if it can).

Mod Sets

A "Mod Set" is a set of Mods that you would like to install or uninstall together.

For example, you make have a set of Mods to make CMAK look like Normandy: houses, roads, hedges etc.   McMMM lets you define a "Mod Set", so you can select it with one stroke, and install all those when you're playing in Normanday, and uninstall all of them when you're not.

Using Mod Sets

A "Mod Set" is a file written by McMMM with a ".mcs" extension.   By default they are stored in the Scenarios directory of the Combat Mission installation.  (Because Mod Sets often accompany scenarios that you download). 

To use a Mod Set file that you have, you simply:

  1. Use the "Mod Set -> Use Set" menu item to open the Mod Set file.


     

  2. Check that the individual Mods you're interested are selected (have a tick in their check box) and press "Install":

McMMM will install all the Mods that you selected in one go.

To un-install Mods from a Mod set, simply press the "Uninstall" button instead.

"What if I don't have the Mods that are needed for the Mod Sets?  How do I even know if I do!?"

McMMM tells you if you have already got the Mods, and if they are already installed.   In the above picture, you can see in the Status column it says "OK - loaded, not installed".  This means that that I have got the Mod already, and I've already loaded it into McMMM myself some time in the past, but it's not installed.

If you haven't actually got some of the Mods that are required for a Mod Set, McMMM will say "Not Found" in the Status column.  So you know which ones you need to go hunting for.  

If you leave McMMM open (as above) while you download the missing Mods, you can press "Refresh" to get the display updated: if you got the correct Mod, the Status will change from "Not Found" to "OK - present, not yet loaded".

Automatic Download

If the person who wrote the Mod Set file was kind enough to record with it the location of the Mod (the "URL"), then McMMM can automatically download Mods that you don't have.  You can see in the picture above that there is a URL in the "Mod Source" column, so McMMM will be able to find this Mod itself.

When you go to install a Mod Set and McMMM finds that you don't have the Mods you need, McMMM will ask you if you'd like to download them - it opens the Mod Download window:

This tells you what McMMM is going to download, and where from.   You can press "Start" to start the download.  Or "Cancel" if you decide you don't want McMMM doing that.

Some Mod sites require a password for downloading (the best Mod site there is www.cmmods.com, requires this).    You enter your Username and Password in the obvious place.   If you don't enter them, McMMM will try without.  If it turns out that a password really is needed, McMMM will tell you.

"That's nice, but I have a download manager/accelerator - it would be much better if I can use that"

As an alternative to downloading Mods directly itself, McMMM can pass the URL of the missing Mods to your browser.   You use the "Use Browser" option on the "Mod Set" menu to specify this:

If you choose this option, it is up to you to make sure that you get your browser to save the Mod Zip File in the right place (in your Mod directory for the game you're modding).   As mentioned above, you can use the "Refresh" button of the Mod Set Display window to see if McMMM thinks that you have got the Mod.

"Actually, I don't want McMMM to even think about downloading Mods for me!"

OK - select "Dont Download" from the Mod Set menu (see the picture above) and McMMM won't even think about downloading Mods for you.

Creating Mod Sets

A "Mod Set" is a text file - you can look at them and edit them by hand if you really want to.   But it is not intended that you do this.

McMMM makes it easy to write a "Mod Set File".

You simply:

  1. Install the Mods that belong in the Mod Set.

  2. Make sure the Mods in the Mod Set have ticks in their check boxes on the Installed Mods page:


    (Above you can see that I have "ticked" my "GaJ" Mods that belong together in the Desert)
     

  3. Select "Write Set" from the "Mod Set" menu, and type in the name of the Mod Set file you want to create.
     

The first time you do this, McMMM will display the "Sources" entry window:


This is where you enter the information about where to find each Mod.  

If you are creating this Mod Set for yourself only, you probably won't want to bother with this.   In this case, you can go straight ahead and press "Write Mod Set", and your Mod Set file will be written with no "Mod Source" information in it.  

(If you will never want to enter Mod Source information, you can click the "dont prompt me again" check box, and McMMM won't bring up this window next time, it will just write the Mod Set file without sources).

However, if you are creating this Mod Set for other people, then they will surely thank you for including the Mod Source information.

You enter the information for each Mod in the list by clicking on the line for that Mod then entering the URL that describes where the Mod can be found:


 

When you've entered all the Mod source information that you are going to, you press "Write Mod Set", and your Mod Set file will be create.

"I want to enter the source information: how do I know what the 'URL' for a Mod in my Mod Set is?"

It looks daunting: those URLs seem complicated, but it's very easy.  You don't even have to type it in.  Here:

  1. Go to the place where you get the Mod from, as if you were just about to download it.

  2. Right-click on the link for the Mod, and select "Copy Link Location" (or similar, depending on your browser):



     

  3. Go to the "Source Entry" display in McMMM and paste the URL in!  (Control-V)
     

That's it!

 

Multiple Combat Mission Installations, getting rid of Combat Mission Installations.

Some people have more than one installation of a version of Combat Mission.  They Mod each installation differently.

McMMM supports this.  You can tell McMMM about another installation of Combat Mission using the Game->Add Game menu option.

Similarly, the Game->Delete Game menu option lets you tell McMMM that you don't even have a particular version of Combat Mission installed, and you don't want McMMM to display it.

Saving Disk Space

McMMM keeps a backup of the BMPs that were in place before you installed a mod, so that it can put them back when you uninstall the mod.

To make the whole thing as fast as possible, these "Baseline" BMPs are stored in a directory, where they can be quickly copied out.

However, this can consume a lot of disk space if you install a lot of Mods. 

So, McMMM has an option where it can keep the Baseline BMPs compressed (in a Zip file).

This option is selected under the Options->Fast Backup menu. 

"Fast Backup" is the normal operation.   If you turn this off, McMMM will compress all the currently saved BMPs.  Swapping from one mode to the other can take a bit of time if you have lots of mods installed... just warning you!

 

A Note about "Sound" mods

"Sound" mods are mods that change the sounds in the game.   The sounds in the game are controlled by the WAV files in the WAV folder in the Combat Mission installation.

So - a "Sound Mod" should be a Zip file containing replacement WAV files.

Unfortunately WAV files can be really big.  Too big for practical purposes when making a Sound Mod.

So often modders making a Sound Mod compress the WAV files into MP3s instead. 

When they do this, they supply a tool for you to use to convert the MP3s back into WAV files before you install them.

Unfortunately, McMMM doesn't know anything about MP3 files and how to convert them.

So - if you get a Sound Mod with MP3s in it, this is what you need to do:

1) Unzip the MP3s into a convenient new folder somewhere.

2) Use the tool that the Mod supplies to convert them into WAVs.

3) Delete the MP3s

4) Zip up the folder of WAVs.

5) Use McMMM to install the new Mod you just made: the zip file that contains the WAVs.

If anyone can point me to a tool I can distribute with McMMM to help McMMM do this automatically, I'd love that.

A Note about "CMMOS" mods

There is another 'Mod Manager' program available called "CMMOS".   It works only with special Mods that are "CMMOS Compatible".  

In addition, if modders build special features into their "CMMOS Compatible" Mods, CMMOS can take advantage of them: this is usually things like adding a flag or special marking to a tank by just supplying the BMP for the special marking.   These special features are something that only CMMOS can use: they are not intended to be installed manually or by people not using CMMOS.

McMMM can read "CMMOS Compatible" Mods, and install the BMPs from them for you, just like it does with any other Mod.  The one thing to look out for is that some of the BMPs might be intended for CMMOS special use only.   If you install these directly with McMMM, it might make the tank you are modding look strange.   If that happens, simply use McMMM to uninstall the offending BMP!

When you feed a CMMOS Mod to McMMM, McMMM unpacks the Mod and repacks it as a "normal" mod.   The name of the zip file that McMMM creates will start with exCMMOS_.

Usually, McMMM will put this new mod file in the "Mods" folder.   It does this even if you pointed McMMM to your CMMOS Mod that you had in some other folder (maybe you have a special folder for CMMOS mods).  There is an option to ask McMMM to put the "normal" Mod that it creates in the same directory as the CMMOS Mod that you gave it.  This is the "Extract CMMOS locally" option under the "Options" menu.

Notes to Modders

The #1 rule for McMMM has been "don't make any work for modders".

This means that you should be able to do your Mods and package them up just how you always have, and McMMM will cope.

That being said, there are a few things you can do to transform the experience for the user of your mod from "OK" to "really nice".   Here they are:

  1. Don't put zip files inside zip files.  That just makes a mess when they are unpacked.

  2. If you have alternatives in your mod, put each set of alternative BMPs in a separate subdirectory, and zip the whole thing up.

  3. Give the subdirectories nice meaningful names

  4. Put 'general information' files in the main directory.

  5. Never mess with the names of BMPs that users are intended to use/install.  
    See #2 above: instead of giving the user 300.bmp and 300_alt.bmp, put the different versions of 300.bmp into separate subdirectories.

An ideal Mod zip file with alternatives would look like this:

GAUT_R1.ZIP contains

    GAUT_R1\     directory  containing

        info.txt
        clean.jpg
        dusty.jpg
        alt_insig.jpg

        clean\                    subdirectory containing
            14940.bmp
            14941.bmp

        dusty\                    subdirectory containing
            14940.bmp
            14941.bmp
            14942.bmp

        alternate_dusty_insig\   subdirectory containing
            14941.bmp