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Skin Pack FAQ - Helpful Info About Installing Skin Packs


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#1 Panthercules

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 15:57

Maybe this info will help reduce the number of questions/problems players post about how the skin pack installation process works.

Q1. Why do I only have a few choices of skins for my planes?

A1. Because of the number of skins available and the size of the downloads, the skins have been split out from the game/patch files to make it easier on players with slower Internet connections or bandwidth limitations. In order to have more skin choices in game, you will need to download and install the additional "skin packs" which are available, as described below.

Q2. Why do some skin previews in the Hangar menu screens only show black rectangles?

A2. Skin preview files used to be in .jpg format, but starting with Patch release 1.022 the devs changed to using .dds format for the preview picture files (to improve memory usage, IIRC). After that changeover, the old .jpg preview files no longer work in game. Skins which still have the old .jpg format preview pictures will show up as black rectangles when you mouse over them in the Hangar menu view (as will any unapproved skins that don't have any form of preview picture at all, which may happen with some skins you might download separately from the forum posts instead of via the approved skin packs). All skin packs released after that switch-over (e.g., Volumes 10 and later) already have the preview pictures in the new .dds format. The previously-released Community Skin Packs (Volumes 9 and earlier) were not updated to change their preview pictures, so they still have the old .jpg pictures in them. Instead of updating all the earlier packs individually (and making you download them again), the devs provided a handy .jpg-to-.dds converter/installer, located here:  http://www.mediafire...s_converter.zip  . When you run that converter, it should automatically replace all the old .jpg preview pictures with new ones in the new .dds format, and you should be able to see them correctly on the in-game Hangar screens. You only need to run this converter once.

Q3. What Skin Packs are available and where do I get them?

A3. The skins which have been approved for use in the game's "MODS OFF" mode (more on that later) are organized into three (3) groups:

"Official Skin Packs"
"Community Historical Skin Packs"
"Community Fictional Skin Packs"

All of these Skin Packs can be downloaded from links found in these threads: 

 

 
Jason's alternate links:  http://riseofflight....-rof-skinpacks/

Panther's Alternate Links:  http://riseofflight....in-dl-packages/ (see "Group 4" and "Group 5")

=AH=_Sid's alternate links: (See post 4 in this thread: http://riseofflight....-rof-skinpacks/ )
 

 

NOTE - be sure you're downloading the "Skin Packs", NOT the "Templates"  - the latter are used by skinners to create skins, and are not the skins themselves.

Q4. Which Skin Packs Do I Need?

A4. It's up to you - you can use them all or as many as you want. Here's what they are and how they work.

"Official Skin Packs" - these contain the skins done or commissioned by the devs and officially released with each new Patch release (or at least any new Patch which adds a new flyable aircraft to the game). These packs are cumulative, so each one contains all the "Official" skins previously released. Therefore, you only need to download and install the latest version of the Official pack - you do not need to get any of the previous versions. (NOTE - if you already have an older version of the Official Skin Pack installed, that's OK. You can, but do not need to, uninstall it - it works fine if you just install the latest Official Pack on top of the older pack if you want to.)

"Community Historical Skin Packs" - these contain historical skins of actual WWI aircraft that have been created by the RoF player community and approved by 777 for use in "MODS OFF" mode. Because so many skins have been created, a single download file would be HUGE, so these have been kept in individual skin packs, which are NOT cumulative. Therefore, each Historical Skin Pack Volume contains different skins, and if you want all the historical skins available you will need to download and install all of the Historical Skin Pack Volumes. Sometimes, errors are discovered or new historical research/info becomes available and a few of the historical skins have been updated to incorporate those fixes. Because some packs contain fixes/corrections to some of the skins in earlier packs, you should install these packs in numerical order, earliest to latest.

"Community Fictional Skin Packs" - these contain fictional skins created by players to represent their personal skins or those of fictional squadrons, or perhaps to recreate skins that have been seen in some of the popular movies about WWI aviation. There are way too many of these skins to fit comfortably into a single download file, so like the Historical packs they are NOT cumulative and you will need to download and install them all if you want them all.

Q5. How can I find out which skins are in which Skin Pack Volumes without downloading them all?

A5. I have created combined "Readme" files (one for Historical, and one for Fictional) which contain all the information in the readme files that accompanied each Community Skin Pack Volume release (the Historical one also includes the readme info from the Official Skin Pack). You can download those files here, and search through them to see which skins were included in which packs (now updated for 1.033 and Volume 19 release):

Historical:  http://www.mediafire...d_Vol.1-19.zip 


Fictional:  http://www.mediafire...l-_Vol.1-19.zip


Please keep in mind - when you're searching the combined readme files you still need to check through all the packs listed in the document to make sure that the skin you find in an earlier pack wasn't fixed/updated in a later pack (that didn't happen a lot, but it did happen - for example, the Werner Voss Dr.1 skin in Historical Volume 7 was replaced by an updated/corrected version in Volume 11, so the one from Volume 7 no longer works in Mods Off mode).


Q6. How do the skin packs work - how do I install them?

A6. The skin packs are executable files which will automatically install the skin files and the associated preview picture files for you.  (Some of the links use .zip files with the .exe files inside - just unzip the .exe files to some temp location and then run the .exe files).  Once you've downloaded a skin pack file and saved it on your hard drive somewhere, all you have to do is run the .exe file. IMPORTANT - during the installation process, it will ask you where you want to install the files - it will pre-populate the location with the default place it expects most people to have installed RoF - if you have installed your game to some other folder (e.g., "C:\Games\Rise of Flight"), you will need to point the installer to your actual RoF installation folder (your main "Rise of Flight" folder) - otherwise, the installed will put the skin files somewhere else and you will not see them in your game.

Q7. Maybe I don't want to use ALL the skins - How can I manage which skins I use?

A7. The above-described process will install all the skins in the skin packs directly into your RoF game installation. If you want to use only some of the skins (perhaps you only want to use your own set of personal/fictional skins and maybe some of those for squadrons you typically fly with or against in multi-player games), there are some ways to manage which skins you use.

My favorite way is to install each skin pack into a separate, "dummy" folder location I create just for that purpose, such as "C:\RoF Skins\CHSP_Vol_1" etc. The installer then creates all the necessary subfolders and puts all the skin and preview picture files in the right place in that "dummy" folder as if it were the main RoF folder, which makes it very easy to turn that "dummy" folder into a JSGME-ready "mod" so I can use JSGME to install and uninstall to and from my real RoF game folders whenever I want.

If I want to further manage the skins within the skin packs (as I do with the fictional ones, as I only tend to use my own personal skins since I don't play MP at this point), I use Laser's great Skin Manager tool (see this thread: http://riseofflight.... skin manager  or download the tool here:  http://www.mediafire...anager_Beta.zip  ) to create another JSGME-ready "mod" with all the personal/fictional skins I want to use, and then use JSGME to install and uninstall them in my actual RoF game folders whenever I want.

Keeping the skins separate from your RoF game install like this takes up a lot of extra hard drive space, but it makes it easier (for me at least) to manage my skins, and it also means that they are kept safely separate from my game installation itself, so if for some reason I hose up my game install during a patch or testing or whatever, my skins don't get hosed up too and I can put them into the new installation very easily using JSGME.

Q8. I'm having trouble downloading the skin packs - are there any "unofficial" alternatives to D/L'ing the approved skin packs that might work better for me?

A8. YES - see these threads:

 

Jason's alternate links:  http://riseofflight....-rof-skinpacks/

Panther's Alternate Links:  http://riseofflight....in-dl-packages/ (see "Group 4" and "Group 5")

=AH=_Sid's alternate links: (See post 4 in this thread: http://riseofflight....-rof-skinpacks/ )


Q9. What's the significance of "MODS OFF" versus "MODS ON" and why "approved skins"?

A9. Largely in order to preserve the integrity of the multiplayer game (avoid certain forms of cheating/abuse), the devs created two modes of play - "MODS OFF" does not allow/recognize player-altered files (which is why it's used by most MP servers), and "MODS ON" does. Custom/player-created skins are treated as "mods" by the game, so the devs created a submission/approval process whereby player-created skins could be integrated into the game and be used in "MODS OFF" mode. Therefore, the skins in the "Official", "Historical" and "Fictional" skin packs CAN be used and seen in "MODS OFF" mode (by anybody who has installed the skin - if anybody hasn't installed a particular skin, they will see a default skin in its place). Other player-created skins that you might download from posts in the forums or elsewhere, that have not come from one of the approved Skin Packs, will only be able to be used/seen in "MODS ON" mode.


I hope the above information helps prevent hiccups and smoothes the experience of using all these great skins that folks have created - they really add immensely to the enjoyment of the game. Feel free to post any other ideas for additional FAQs and I'll consider adding them to the above.


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#2 catchov

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 03:28

Very helpful Panther. :S!:
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#3 Trooper117

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:59

Thanks! Concise and informative!
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#4 Panthercules

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 00:55

First post updated to add the combined Readme files for all Historical and Fictional Volumes to the Skin Pack FAQ.
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#5 Panthercules

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 15:10

First post updated to update the link in the FAQ to the combined Readme file for all Historical skins, which has been updated to reflect the latest Official Skin Pack for version 1.028.
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#6 Panthercules

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 21:23

First post updated to add a new Q&A (Q8) about some alternate "unofficial" skin packs I've created for those having trouble D/L'ing the official/approved skin packs due to download corruption problems, or because they didn't want to bother with all 12 of the Historical skin packs individually.

Details on what they are and instructions on how to use them with JSGME are contained in the answer to Q8 in the FAQ in the first post of this thread.

There's nothing new here that you won't get (or that you need) if you've already D/L'd and installed all 12 of the Community Historical Skin Pack Volumes (other than having them in JSGME-ready packages). But for some of you, I hope this may be helpful.

Cheers,

Panther
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#7 Panthercules

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 14:42

First post updated to include the link (in Q/A #8) to the NEW - Career Mode Entente Community Skins Package - all but only those Community Historical Skins for Entente aircraft from Volumes 1-12 that are currently being used in beta Career Mode.

Corresponding Career package for Central aircraft should be ready in the next couple of days - stay tuned …

Again - PLEASE NOTE that you don't need these if you have already D/L'ed and installed all 12 Historical Skin Pack Volumes, but this might be a handy way of getting these skins if you haven't done that.

Also, remember that you still need to D/L and install the latest "Official" Skin Pack, as there are a lot of skins in that pack which are also being used in Career mode.
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#8 Panthercules

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 04:14

First post updated to include the link (in Q/A #8) to the NEW - Career Mode Central Community Skins Package - all but only those Community Historical Skins for Central aircraft from Volumes 1-12 that are currently being used in beta Career Mode.

Again - PLEASE NOTE that you don't need these if you have already D/L'ed and installed all 12 Historical Skin Pack Volumes, but this might be a handy way of getting these skins if you haven't done that.

Also, remember that you still need to D/L and install the latest "Official" Skin Pack, as there are a lot of skins in that pack which are also being used in Career mode.
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#9 Zulnex

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 14:36

Many thanks for the FAQ. :S!:
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#10 thx1138

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 15:27

Many thanks for the FAQ. :S!:


Second that.

I downloaded all the skinpacks listed (1.028, historical, fictional) They all downloaded fine and installed fine. WoW there are a lot of skins there !!!

Thanx for the explanation it all makes sense now.
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#11 Trooper117

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 15:45

A question.. Why are new skin preview pictures still being put up for release in jpeg format.?
Surely skinners could make life easier for all concerned if they were released in dds format?
Not sure how difficult that process is for the jolly old skinners so you will have to forgive my ignorance :)
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#12 WWDubya

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 16:20

I brought that one up myself when they (777) implemented the new system. They said it was actually easier for them to batch them up and do them all in one-fell-swoop. Good-nuff for me!
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#13 Panthercules

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:50

What Dub said. Also, although this was not part of their determination, it actually makes it a lot easier for me to process the skins for submission because no separate folder structure is required (as it would be since the file names would be the same if both skin and preview pictures were already .dds files) and it's easier for me to review the preview pictures (and fix them if necessary) while they're in .jpg format, so I was certainly fine with their decision.
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#14 Vague_Prophet

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:40

ok Im somewhat retarded I think I installed the skins correctly but where the heck do you change them in game? is there a clicky somewhere that I am missing? I have a feeling deep down that the answer to this will be a doooh!!! moment. Thanks for the help.
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#15 Panthercules

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:44

Yeah - it's pretty simple once you see it:

You can do it in a couple of ways - first, when you set up the mission parameters (e.g., in QMB):
Image

or second, on the Hangar screen before you start the mission:
Image

In both cases, the skin list is under the little wrench symbol.

(Sorry the menu screenshots are so dark - I forgot my SweetFX settings make my menus so dark, but you should get the idea)
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#16 Vague_Prophet

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:28

Told ya!! DOOOHHH!!! Thanks Panther
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#17 Panthercules

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:46

First post updated with new links to the combined readme files for the OSP/Historical skins and the Fictional skins, which have been updated for the 1.031 and Volume 15 release. (See Q&A #5).
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#18 DraigUK

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 22:57

Hi, I just downloaded all the Community Historical packs, when I click on a lot of them to install, it brings up an error :-

"Non 7z Archive"

Anyone have any ideas what is the problem?

P.S…

Vol.15
Vol.14
Vol.12
Vol.9
Vol.8
Vol.7
Vol.5
Vol.4
Vol.3

Installed fine the rest don't and give the error. Thanks.
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#19 Panthercules

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:02

You may have gotten some corrupted download files, especially if you were trying to D/L more than one file at the same time (not sure why that would matter, but it does seem to).

I'd suggest either (1) trying to open the ones you have with WinRAR (I don't know why, but that's worked for me and some others in the past when we had some similar problems) or, if that doesn't work, try D/L'ing the files again, one at a time, from one of the alternate links that either I or Jason or =AH=_Sid have made available (see links in first post above).

 

Good luck!


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#20 Surfimp

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 00:48

Just providing some user experience feedback on the rather convoluted process I had to go through to find this thread:

I wanted to find an index of community skin packs. This seems like the kind of thing that would be featured on the "Useful Materials" page, or barring that, at least sticked in the Skins & Textures subforum.

However, I had to do some very careful reading and successfully navigate through three pages of mostly irrelevant info before getting linked back to this thread, which does in fact live in the Skins & Textures subforum as expected - but isn't stickied as, IMHO, a thread called "Skin Pack FAQ" ought to be, in the Skins & Textures subforum anyways.

I get that it's entirely possible that I'm an idiot, and no one else has had this problem. Just reporting on my experience, FWIW…

So, a suggestion:

Having the main index sticky of skinning threads living in the How-To section is dumb. All of those links point back to this subforum (Skins & Textures).

It would be a lot more sane to have the main index sticky live here, in this forum, and have a placeholder sticky pointing to it in the How-To forum. Basically the opposite of what we've got now.

There, now you've got $0.02 of feedback from me!

:lol:
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#21 Panthercules

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 01:09

Just providing some user experience feedback on the rather convoluted process I had to go through to find this thread:

I wanted to find an index of community skin packs. This seems like the kind of thing that would be featured on the "Useful Materials" page, or barring that, at least sticked in the Skins & Textures subforum.

However, I had to do some very careful reading and successfully navigate through three pages of mostly irrelevant info before getting linked back to this thread, which does in fact live in the Skins & Textures subforum as expected - but isn't stickied as, IMHO, a thread called "Skin Pack FAQ" ought to be, in the Skins & Textures subforum anyways.

I get that it's entirely possible that I'm an idiot, and no one else has had this problem. Just reporting on my experience, FWIW…

So, a suggestion:

Having the main index sticky of skinning threads living in the How-To section is dumb. All of those links point back to this subforum (Skins & Textures).

It would be a lot more sane to have the main index sticky live here, in this forum, and have a placeholder sticky pointing to it in the How-To forum. Basically the opposite of what we've got now.

There, now you've got $0.02 of feedback from me!

icon_lol.gif


Well, I originally had the main Skins-related sticky thread compilation thread ( http://riseofflight....g-related-info/ ) posted here in the skins forum, but the devs reorganized things a while back and moved that thread over to the "How to" Forum section.

I can see the logic behind their move, though if it had been up to me I probably would have left it here with all the other skins stuff.

Glad you finally found it. Thanks for the feedback.


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#22 Surfimp

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 16:33

Right, I see the logic behind having a link in the How-To section, my only point was that if a link to the community skin index document isn't possible on the "Useful Materials" page where the skin packs live, then the master list of links should probably live here, with the pointer link in the How-To section.

As it currently stands, the workflow to identify an index of community skins is this:

- Browse Skins & Textures forum, id sticky
- Click sticky, see link to another thread
- Load that thread, scan for link to another thread (this one)
- Finally, scan the first post of this thread carefully (it's long and text heavy!) to find the thing that should (in my mind) be a sticky itself: the index of community skins
- Download a zip file containing a Word doc (maybe this could simply be hosted on Google Drive, to save a couple steps and avoid people needing to have Word?)

Ideally that skin index document would be hosted on the "Useful Materials" page… as it is, I think I've demonstrated that it's pretty buried. No criticism meant, these things happen over time, just giving feedback of a newish user who doesn't already know where everything is.

Anyways don't want to belabor the issue, it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Just a bit of confusing frustration with the current setup.
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#23 PA_Spartan-

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 20:23

Hello, problem with the official skin pack. When I execute the file it gives me an error saying that it is not a "non 7Z archive".
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#24 Panthercules

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 00:44

Hello, problem with the official skin pack. When I execute the file it gives me an error saying that it is not a "non 7Z archive".


Welcome to the Forums!

Sorry you're having problems. That error message is typical of what happens if your download got corrupted and didn't complete properly. You can try again from the official link on the Useful Materials Page, or you might want to try downloading from the alternate link I made available for folks who were having similar problems (link available in this thread):

http://riseofflight....ge-alternative/


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#25 PA_Spartan-

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 23:22

Roger! It worked! Thanks
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#26 Panthercules

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 18:24

First post updated to fix links broken by transition to new Forum platform.


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