Combat Simulation Arena



Well, it’s time for another update again. I can almost hear the cheers from the viewers. If you haven’t cheered yet, would it help that this mod is coming from Stoffe? That should do the trick. This particular updated mod is for the combat arena, which is available for Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.

If you’re not familiar with the Combat Arena, I’ll give you a quick crash course in it. It’s a module that you can stage fights on your own terms in a combat area that is based off of the one in Visquis’ hideout, the Jekk’Jekk Tarr Tunnel area when playing Nar Shaddaa.

Since this is an updated version of this mod, changes are to be expected for example, some more options to the stages pit fight, the tournament ladder, new opponents to go up against, and some improvements to the opponents. Oh, I know that getting killed right from the start playing the turret games was a problem so Stoffe added 10 seconds of invulnerability at the start of turret games. The TSL Patcher (created by Stoffe) will install this mod. Make sure you read the instructions on how to use this mod. Enjoy the updated Combat Arena! :D

Note: Please leave the author feedback, especially if you download this mod and use it. It really helps encourage the author to make more mods in the future.




Combat Simulation Arena for SWKotOR2:TSL
2005-08-18 - Version 1
2005-09-22 - Version 2
2005-11-26 - Version 3
2006-10-07 - Version 4

1. Version history
2. What is this?
3. How do I install it?
4. How do I use it?
5. About Opponent difficulty
6. How do I uninstall it?
7. Troubleshooting
8. The To Do List
9. Special thanks

1. Version History
* New game type: Staged Pit Fight. It works like a normal pit fight, with the exception that you may compose your opponent force from all available arena combatants by picking them one at a time. Be warned that if you spawn too many enemies to fight at one time the game might slow down considerably.
* New game type: Tournament Ladder. A variant of duel matches where your selected character will fight 1 on 1 against a series of opponents in sequence with no pause in between each, starting out with weak enemies and them getting progressively more powerful. The Ladders are arranged after opponent categories, where you can fight against Jedi, Sith, Mercenaries, Droids or Beasts. If for example you pick the Sith ladder you start out fighting Assassins and work your way up to face the Dark Lord.
* Some new arena combatants to fight against, some with unique special abilities, most notably Revan and Malak.
* Tweaked the abilities and power of some combatants, and modified the group composition of some combatant groups.
* Added one more NPC match to bet on with the Hutt.
* Added an option to the arena control console to deactivate the force field in regular spectator matches if you'd rather see the action up-close than from the spectator galleries. This option will not be available on Betting matches arranged by the Hutt though to prevent you from interfering with the fight to tilt the odds in your favor. :) 
* Some further tweaks and improvements to the NPC combat AI.
* Various tweaks and bugfixes too numerous and too minor to mention. :)
* Added 10 seconds of invulnerability at the start of turret games to avoid being ganged up on before gaining your bearings.
* NPC combatants with high dexterity, awareness and not using a rifle may attempt an evasive roll move to dodge grenades being lobbed at or near them by other NPCs. (Due to game engine limitations they won't be able to "see" if the player controlled character throws grenades at them though.)

* Fixed Random Loot for the DeathMatch so all Jedi Robe types can be dropped.
* Included two turret minigame simulators in the Hutt's room. They offer a bit more challenge than the standard game turret minigames.
* Fixed arena console problem to make it easier to select and activate with the keyboard.
* Added a "Winged Drexl" monster to fight against with a skin texture made by "General Kenobi" on the StarWarsKnights.com forums. Thanks!
* Added a new "Defend the Holocron" test game type where the player must defend a holcron for 5 minutes while enemies continously spawn in and try to destroy it. I don't know how balanced this game type is for different levels of players. For my lvl 32 test character + party members it was hard but not impossible. Feedback would be appreciated. (Hint: Enemies can be briefly distracted from their objective by damaging them. Use force powers, rockets and grenades to incapacitate them as well.)

* Added a "Death Match" game type. Similar to Pit Fight, but you can actually be killed in the Arena, ending the game if your whole party goes down. Defeated opponents in this game form may drop loot when they die, unlike the other, "safer" match forms, to make up for the risk.
* Adjusted strength and feats/force powers of several combatants and adjusted team compositions for Pit Fight and spectate matches.
* Added support for the Ultimate Saber Mod. If you have it installed, many "bosses" will use their own USM Sabers in the Arena.
* Added a handful of new opponents to the Arena Console initiated matches and rearranged teams a bit.
* Made the Twin Suns use their shields until they run out of charges rather than just once, and gave them some Stims to buff up with. Should make them put up a bit more of a fight.
* Gave Darth Nihilus a new special ability he may use at most twice during a fight to make him thouger.
* Equipped the Military Tank Droid with Rocket Launchers. Watch out.
* Jedi/Sith opponents will now use the various saber/force forms as appropriate.
* Added a "Jedi Council vs. Sith Lords" team makeup for Spectate matches, as requested.
* Added a new "Allies" category to the Duel match menu.
* Added a "special" opponent team to try a Team Pit Fight against...
* Added "Onslaught" option to Gauntlet matches which will pick enemies from all opponent categories randomly, and an "I feel lucky" option that will pick an opponent category randomly.
* Made various further enhancements and tweaks to the creature combat AI. 
* Added a few more cameras to the arena spectator terminal.
* Fixed potential crash problem if a controlled non-Exile party member leaves the Arena without starting the fight when a Duel Match has been initiated.
* Moved the Arena Exit trigger a bit further up the ramp to eliminate problem with accidentally tripping it and ending an initiated match prematurely.
* Fixed AI problem with the Wookiee combatants not using their Wookiee Rage/Fury/Frenzy abilities.
* Tried to balance the opposing teams in the Hutt betting matches a bit better. (MI)
* Lots of other smaller bugfixes, corrections and adjustments too small and numerous to mention.
* Fixed a bunch of bugs/problems where certain force powers wouldn't work as they should when used by non-partymembers. (Note that if you already have a k_sp1_generic.ncs file in your override those fixes will not happen.)

2. What is this?
The Arena is a "mini-game" module where you can practice fighting against a variety of opponents, watch games between AI-controlled combatants, bet on AI matches and compete in the arena for credits.

This module will only work as intended with the English-language version of the game. If you use a foreign language version, the dialogs will contain no text. If you have no non-english mods installed you may remedy this by opening your game's dialog.tlk file with TalkEd and change its language setting to English (File menu --> Set Language). This will only affect mods and not change the language of the normal text or dialog in your game.

3. How do I install it?
If you haven't already (since you are reading this file), unpack the archive this mod came in. Make sure the "Install Arena.exe" file and the "tslpatchdata" folder are located in the same folder, which should NOT be inside the game's override folder. (If you use WinZip, don't drag and drop since it may not preserve the folder structure properly!)

Then run the "Install Arena.exe" file to install the mod. Just copying the content of the "tslpatchdata" folder to your override folder will NOT work and is likely to mess up your game. PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE INSTALLER WINDOW!

Note: This mod will modify the behavior of some of the game's standard force powers to make them work better when used by a group of NPCs. Some powers did for example buff your party no matter what, even if an enemy used them. If you have another mod installed that modified the behavior of those same powers those changed will likely be overridden. (If you know how to mod the game you can manually merge those changes into the st_sp1_generic.nss script though. If you don't, then you'll have to choose which mod you want the effects of.)

4. How do I use it?
To get to the Arena in a game, build a "Combat Arena Teleporter" armband at the nearest workbench, it should be under the Other/Misc category. Equip it on The Exile and activate it, and you will be teleported to the Arena. Please exercise common sense as to in what areas you use the armband. The game may not react in a good way if you warp out of an area that is normally unescapable and only can be entered and left once (G0T0's yacht or the Ebon Hawk en route to Citadel for the first time, for example). Any area you can leave and return to by foot should be safe to use it in.

Talk to the Hutt to bet on fights or fight for credits. There are currently 5 matches to fight and 6 matches to bet on with him. For the matches that allow you to bring party members, select your desired group before speaking to the Hutt to start a fight, you won't be able to change your party once a match is on. 

The fights can be fairly hard, so it might be a good idea to do some training matches first to get a feel for how things work, and stock up on shields, grenades and stims beforehand. The arena matches are designed to present a challenge, not to breeze through like most other fights in the game. Most opponents have their strengths and weaknesses, figuring out what those are and adjusting your party members, items and tactics accordingly can make a real difference in difficulty.

Use the terminal next to the Force Field to set up the arena for "training" matches. You will not get any credits for those, but you'll still earn XP for defeating the opponents. Unlike the Hutt-arranged fights, the terminal allows you to choose game type and opponents freely. There are a lot more opponents and game types available than those the Hutt lets you fight. This is where most of the Arena content is accessed from. 

Note: When fighting duel or ladder matches you can only pick who should do the fighting among the party members you currently have with you. Make sure the desired character you wish to use is in the active party before you use the console.

If you get injured in a fight or deplete your force pool, visit the twi'lek healer in one of the side rooms to get yourself and all party members fully restored for free. 

To exit the arena and return to where you came from, activate the armband again while in the Arena area. 

5. About Opponent difficulty
The opponents are made to present more of a challenge than most opponents you meet in the game, often requiring use of buff and protection Force powers or items like stims and shields to be beatable. Pay attention to what party members and equipment you use against which opponents. Almost all opponents have some kind of weakness you may exploit to make the fight easier.

The toughness of the opponents vary a lot, so if you get constantly beat up by some no matter what you do, try fighting something else to gain more experience. 

The arena is mostly designed for fairly high level characters (15-20+), though the difficulty of the opponents scale with the level of your character, though their force power and feat selection will not. The opponents are balanced against the default autobalance settings of the game. If you don't know what this means there shouldn't be any trouble. If, however, you have a custom autobalance.2da file originating from another Mod in your Override folder it's possible that the opponents may become too difficult to beat. 

Since the Arena combatants use a significantly modified variant of the combat AI scripts, the "Hardcore mod" or similar scripted approaches to increasing enemy difficulty has no effect on anyone you fight in the arena. Hopefully they will be tough enough anyway to offer a challenge even without such a boost.

6. How do I uninstall it?
The this mod will either install or modify the following files:

appearance.2da, globalcat.2da, itemcreate.2da, itemcreatemira.2da, spells.2da, st_arenaband.ncs, modulesave.2da, st_arenaband,uti and st_arenabeacon.utw.

st_arena2.rim, st_turret1.mod, st_turret2.mod

dialog.tlk, CSA-Readme4.txt

If any existing files were modified, the Installer application you ran when you installed the mod will have made backup copies of those files before modifying them, placed in a folder called "backup" in the same folder as the installer was run from.  Delete the above listed files, then copy the content of the Backup folder back into your Override folder.

7. Troubleshooting
7.1. Armband problem:
Q: The Combat Simulator Armband says it has lost track of where I came from when I try to leave the arena?
A: This is most likely caused by either:
   1. You didn't use the installer application to install the mod. 
   2. You have installed another mod after installing the arena mod which overwrites (rather than modifies) the "globalcat.2da" file. The modification the Mod Installer does to this file is essential for the Armband to work correctly. To fix this, reinstall the Arena Mod after having installed your other mod.

7.2. Crashes when certain opponents spawn:
Q: When some opponents in the arena spawn the game crashes! Why?
A: This is most likely caused by either:
   1. You didn't use the installer application to install the mod. 
   2. You have installed another mod after installing the arena mod which overwrites (rather than modifies) the "appearance.2da" file. The Mod installer makes some changes to this file to allow some combatants to appear properly. To fix this, reinstall the Arena Mod after having installed your other mod.

7.3. Bad StrRef problem:
Q: A box with the text "Bad StrRef" appears on screen when starting a match. Why?
A: This is most likely caused by either:
   1. You didn't use the installer application to install the mod. :)
   2. You have installed another mod after installing the arena mod which overwrites (rather than modifies) the "dialog.tlk" file. The Mod installer makes some changes to this file to allow showing text in floating boxes on the screen. To fix this, reinstall the Arena Mod after having installed your other mod.

(Do you see a pattern here with the first cases? :))

7.4. Getting your cold dead head served on a plate:
Q: The Arena opponents utterly crush my hapless party into a fine powder every match. Is this intentional?
A: Maybe, depending on which of these possibilities is the reason:
   1. You are too low level. Most arena enemies, while scaling to meet your level, are intended for level 15+ characters. Either pick easier opponents at first, or level up though other means and try again.
   2. You are too high level. :) The enemies get tougher the higher the level of your main character is. If your Exile is level 50, the opponents won't be far behind. Unlike yours, their damage output goes up with level.
   3. You have installed a mod containing a tweaked "autobalance.2da" file. The combatants have been balanced against the normal game settings. Mods that boost the enemy difficulty by altering this file may shoot their level and bonuses through the roof.
   4. You did not prepare properly before battle. The merchant selling combat-related supplies (grenades, stims) is there for a reason. Use the resources at your disposal, use the force powers that protects, buffs and defends your characters. The arena combatants are intended to put up more of a fight than most normal encounters in the game.
   5. You didn't bring the right party members (for game forms allowing you to use a party). Explore the strengths and weaknesses of your party members against the different types of opponents. Most enemies have weaknesses as well as strengths that different party members should be better suited to deal with.

7.5. The best defense...
Q: The "Defend the Holocron" games are impossible! No matter what they destroy the Holocron!
A: It is hard, but not impossible. The thing to be aware of is that unless you distract or incapacitate them most of the enemies will go straight for the Holocron, ignoring your party. If you damage them, it may distract them from their task and they will go after you for a while instead. If you have them, mass-incapacitating force powers like Stasis Field and Insanity are handy to stop the attackers. Force Wave is very useful as well. If you have no offensive force powers, grenades and rockets will do fine. Remember that you gain little more than XP by killing enemies in this game form, more will just teleport in to fill out the ranks. You can't kill them all since they respawn indefinitely as long as the match is on. Sometimes it's more effective to keep a group of packed-together enemies incapacitated rather than killing them.

8. The ToDo List
These things are planned for future versions of the arena and may or may not be implemented as time, patience and motivation permits:
* Add support for High Level Force Powers mod for some of the "bossiest" enemies. (Need to test this carefully, they might get too hard to beat.)
* More types of enemies in Defend the Holocron matches.
* More paid arena fights arranged by the hutt
* More betting matches arranged by the hutt
* Add a pazaak playing NPC for when wanting a break from the fighting.
* Make some of the harder Hutt fights grant non-monetary rewards as well.
* Add some more combatant types (Rakata, Sand People, Selkath)
* Add Staged Spectator match game type.

9. Special thanks
Special thanks goes to TheOssusKeeper and Tupac Amaru for taking their time to help me test this Mod and make it more bug-free before release, as well as offer some suggestions for improvements. Thanks, I appreciate your help and input a lot. Also thanks to General Kenobi for making the texture for the previously untextured Flying Drexl model in version 3.

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