The problem as it stands is that each skin author has resulted to having to make archives for his skin and creating a custom mod folder for each skin set. This can quickly turn into a nightmare for someone who wants to use a variety of different skins from different sources. Hopefully this tutorial can make the process so simple and convenient that anyone with a basic knowledge of windows explorer can be adding their own collection of skins within 10 minutes and continue to update their archives with minimal confusion.
The first step is to download these two zip files and get them extracted so we can begin working.
The editing files (editing.zip) you will extract to your C:\ drive. Extract
it to the root of C: and make sure your zip program is set
to use the path for each archive when it extracts. Your editing folder should be "C:\Custom_RFA\" and should contain the following...
The folder files (folder.zip) you will extract into your "Battlefield1942/mods/BF1942" folder which should then look like this. You should now see an Addons and you will have a new init.con file.
If you open your new init.con file with notepad you will notice that
the second line is new. It points the game to the folder where your new
texture archives will be placed. If you have installed any skinpacks that altered this file you may want to make a backup before you extract the new one.
If you've managed to extract everything correctly your halfway home. In step two we'll start creating our new RFA files!!!
In this part of the tutorial we will be using shrp77's GmakeRFA to build a few custom texture archives. For an example I have included a few small texture files that I use in my own game. Take the time now to browse thru your c:\Custom_RFA directory and see how its laid out. You will notice two folders named menu and texture.
These two directories will hold the actual DDS texture files which we will use to build our RFA files. I've included a custom flag texture which was part of the Merciless Mod for an example. Under texture you will notice two additional folders africa and winter.
This is where you can place custom textures for desert maps and snow textures for Battle of the Bulge. I have included snow covered pine tree textures in winter which can be viewed in BOB once the installation is complete. Under menu you will find a texture directory which holds DDS files that have to do with the ingame menu. A few custom DDS files were added here as well for example purposes.
Note: The directories you place a specific file must match the path in the
original RFA file. If your not sure where a particular texture file goes ask
someone on the BF42.com editing forums. A texture in the wrong directory will
up in game.
Now, go into your Custom_RFA folder and double_click the GmakeRFA icon and open it up. Let's create our texture.rfa first. Goto the file menu and select Load Set. Naviagateto the folder under Custom_RFA named z_presets and select texture.mrs.
The program should now look like this...
If your program doesn't look this way, you've done something wrong. I suggest
you go back thru the tutorial to find out what you've missed. If your's does
look like this, congratulations your almost home free!!! Now to create your new
rfa simply go back to the file
menu option and select Create. If all goes well you should have a small texture.rfa file located in your z_output folder. Repeat the same process by opening the menu.mrs under z_presets then creating again. Now you should also have a menu.rfa file in the output folder.
The last step before firing up the game and checking your success is to copy the two new rfa files you have compiled to thier final resting place. Using Windows Explorer select the two files, right_click and choose copy. Now navigate to the folder you unzipped in step one (Addons) and paste your two files into the Archives folder found inside.
The finished path should look like this /Battlefield1942/Mods/BF1942/Addons/Archives/texture.rfa & menu.rfa.
Now say you just saw a cool looking P51 Mustang skin that you would like to add after you've created the new archives. Adding the new file is very simple. Drop the new DDS skin file in with the others in C:\Custom_RFA\textures\ Open GMakeRFA again choose the texture preset, create the new archive and copy it over the file you created previously.
To finish the tutorial we now have to make sure it worked!! Start a new Battlefield 1942 LAN game and choose the map Battle_of_the_Bulge. Spawn on the German side and look around. Do the old German flags now have Swastika's? Do the pine trees now have snow on the branches? Is the arrow on the minimap, that shows your orientation, now red? If so you have succeeded and now have the knowledge to change your skins at will. I have included the following screenshot as an example of what you should see.
That brings this tutorial to a close. I hope it helps out those in the community that are still having a hard time using custom skins. If you find any errors in this tutorial or have any suggestions to improve it, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have fun customizing your game to your own tastes!!!