Thursday, March 15, 2007

Making your screen pretty...

Sorry I've been so tardy in updating and responding to comments. I'm currently writing this in the airport as I wait for my flight back home. It's been a long week -_-

I've been asked by several people to explain how I got the 1440x900 resolution to work and how to upgrade the UI.

Before I proceed, I should warn you that none of this is sanctioned by SE, and can introduce glitches into your game if not done properly. Always write down or record original registry key values before editing them and back up your DATs before changing them. Please.

OK, first the easy one. Resolution. Using the FFXI Config menu enables you to expand the 'Overlay Graphics' resolution to a pretty high degree. However this only affects the menus, fonts, windows, etc. This, at least to my understanding, does not increase the resolution of the actual graphical content (i.e. the 'background resolution'). The most you'll get via FFXI Config is 1024x1024.

This is why I edited the registry to get the Overlay and Background to have identical resolutions.

Hold down the Windows and R buttons to bring up the Run command. Type regedit in the box and click OK.

You'll see an Explorer style directory. The following is the path to get to the FFXI registry:

My Computer
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
SOFTWARE
PlayOnlineUS
SquareEnix
FinalFantasyXI

As soon as you get to FinalFantasyXI and select it, you'll see a list of 21 registry entries, ranging from 0000 to 0033, and a (Default) which we won't be touching. In the Data column for entries 0001 and 0002, you'll notice the familiar values that you set as the 'overlay graphics' resolution (they'll be listed in parentheses).

Now notice that entries 0003 and 0004 have the values you set for the 'background' resolution (1024x1024 for most people with large monitors). These are what you're going to edit.

Double-click 0003, which will bring up an "Edit DWORD Value" window. Toggle the Base button from Hexadecimal to Decimal. This is important, so go slowly and make sure you've done this. Once in Decimal mode, change the Value data to the desired horizontal resolution (in my case, I set this to 1440). Click OK.

Double-click 0004, and repeat the process (remember that Decimal base) and set the value to your desired vertical resolution (in my case, 900). Click OK.

If you want to get rid of the annoying flickering of distant backgrounds, you can also bump up your mip mapping value in this registry. This is updatable in key 0000. The suggested value for smoothing distant textures is 4. This enables you to turn off anisotropic texture filtering on your card to improve performance.

Close your registry editor, and you're done.

If you'd like to know what the rest of the registry keys do, check the allakhazam guide. Note that some of these options are now updatable via the FFXI config screen.

Ok, now you want your fonts to look all nicey nice, so it's time to download a .DAT pack. I got mine from FFXIdats.com. I browsed the application skins section and found what I wanted here.

Once you download the pack, look at the ROM files and folders in the set and be sure to back up the original SE versions of these files to a separate directory before you mess with them. Whenever a .DAT mod even touches a directory, I personally back up the entire directory before moving the new files over.

This is because any subsequent updates from SE can potentially introduce glitches with your custom DATs. For instance, the latest update made some changes to status icons, and I had the custom set of status icons included with the aforementioned pack. Cancelling 'Defender' would bomb my Playonline session until I restored the original DATs.

Be sure to peruse the readme file on the .DAT pack. It will explain the function of the files, enabling you to pick & choose which ones you want, and it will tell you how to upgrade your window style as well.

Another tourist enters the Safehold


Voila. Hope this is enough information!

4 comments:

Feon said...

Stop playing in the morning lol

Paul said...

That timestamp was due to the Florida timezone. I was actually at the air terminal around 6AM Orlando time.

... and I wasn't playing, heh.

I haven't really played at all in close to a week now. Busy all week with the conference, and just came home to a house with 3 visitors, 2 of whom are my in-laws... Yeah, no FFXI-time for me.

Darrett said...

So, we're going to get nice pictures of Disneyworld right?

JOWAH said...

Whaaa I'll try that once I'll receive my new pc ^-^