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GameAssistant: The Tool For Every Gamer - automated game tweaking


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Hi there! :)

We talked with Andrew about our program.
It might be featured later in more official fashion.
But for now forum post seems to be best way to introduce it.

Released on Steam previous week:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1190750/GameAssistant_The_Tool_For_Every_Gamer

We thoroughly analyzed each supported game and in many cases our program
provides some exclusive tweaks that are not listed on PC Gaming Wiki.
When there are descriptions of useful changes that are hard to automate,
we show link that directs to PC Gaming Wiki page.

In case of disabling startup videos, we always remove or overwrite files, if possible.

Program also provides cheats, sometimes as tweaks.
To enable god mode in Outlast 1 exactly 60 properties in INI config are modified.

Program can override FOV in STALKER games, where DLL file is modified.
PC Gaming Wiki tells you to download some ZIP, which must be extracted into proper dir,
and then some batch script must be run and finally proper number must be entered.

Program is able to:
 - modify config files (10 formats supported: from simple key = value to engine specific)
 - modify registry entries
 - modify binary files
 - set compatibility modes for executables (admin, win xp)
 - set CPU affinity
 - set process priority
 - copy files
 - remove files
 - create directories
 - extract files from archives
 - mark files as read-only
 - show formatted hints

All changes can be reverted.

About 200 games are currently supported with more to come:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/1190750/discussions/0/2659872290967762982

Program is moddable, so new games can be added without programming skills.
Detailed HTML documentation is available.
Program can download Community Pack with multiple configs.

Unfortunately, program did not receive much media coverage.
You can spread the word and get 3 keys. More details here:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/1190750/discussions/0/1751276551817474198

Edited by GameAssistant
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This is the coolest thing I have ever seen here, and a long time coming.

I had always imagined a FlawlessWidescreen-like UI, but even this super-sleek one is nice.

And I have no problems with selling it at a price (in fact if there was a closer collaboration with PCGW, it could be as well somehow somewhat integrated with our patreon)

But is it open-source? Because otherwise it doesn't really feel "ours to own".

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Glad you like it! :)
Sadly not everyone seems to understand idea.

This is not open source program, but don't worry.
Even if coronavirus will wipe us developers, you can still add new games :)

Here is example config:

{
    "title": "BioShock Infinite",
    "steam-id": 8870,
    "process-name": "BioShockInfinite.exe",
    "main-config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XEngine.ini",
    "saves-location": "${STEAM_USERDATA_ACCOUNT_DIR}/8870/remote/SaveData",
    "config-type": "INI",
    "tweaks": [
        {
            "title": "Disable startup videos",
            "type": "remove-files",
            "directory": "${GAME_DIR}/XGame/Movies",
            "files": [
                "2KLogoSweep720p2997.bik",
                "AMDLogo720p.bik",
                "IrrationalLogoTest.bik",
                "UE3AnimatedLogo_ProRes.bik"
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Show advanced graphics settings",
            "type": "hints",
            "extended-description": [
                "Set <b>Graphics quality</b> option to <b>Custom</b>"
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Disable motion blur",
            "type": "config",
            "config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XEngine.ini",
            "keys": [
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::MotionBlur",
                    "default": "True",
                    "enabled": "False"
                },
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::AllowRadialBlur",
                    "default": "True",
                    "enabled": "False"
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Disable depth of field",
            "type": "config",
            "config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XEngine.ini",
            "keys": [
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::DepthOfField",
                    "default": "True",
                    "enabled": "False"
                },
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::DiffusionDepthOfField",
                    "default": "True",
                    "enabled": "False"
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Disable bloom",
            "type": "config",
            "config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XEngine.ini",
            "keys": [
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::Bloom",
                    "default": "True",
                    "enabled": "False"
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Disable lens flares",
            "type": "config",
            "config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XEngine.ini",
            "keys": [
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::LensFlares",
                    "default": "True",
                    "enabled": "False"
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Increase shadows resolution",
            "type": "config",
            "config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XEngine.ini",
            "keys": [
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::MinShadowResolution",
                    "default": "64",
                    "enabled": "128"
                },
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::MaxShadowResolution",
                    "default": "2048",
                    "enabled": "4096"
                },
                {
                    "name": "SystemSettings::MaxPerObjectShadowResolution",
                    "default": "2048",
                    "enabled": "4096"
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Enhance FOV range",
            "description": "Default range is +/-15%, will be set to 75%",
            "type": "config",
            "config": "${MY_DOCUMENTS_DIR}/My Games/BioShock Infinite/XGame/Config/XUserOptions.ini",
            "keys": [
                {
                    "name": "XCore.XUserOptionsManager::MaxUserFOVOffsetPercent",
                    "default": "15.000000",
                    "enabled": "75.000000"
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "More advice",
            "type": "hints",
            "extended-description": [
                "Check <a href=\"https://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/BioShock_Infinite\">PC Gaming Wiki</a> page"
            ]
        },
        {
            "title": "Walkthrough",
            "type": "hints",
            "extended-description": [
                "<a href=\"https://guides.gamepressure.com/bioshockinfinite\">Open walkthrough</a>",
                "<a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLs1-UdHIwbo6S07xjTarBtqXOsj7dDiWZ\">Open video walkthrough</a>"
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Program is almost feature complete. Important features that will be added are:
 - support for non-Steam games
 - integration with Widescreen Fixes Pack

If you have any other ideas, we can implement them!

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You can even use a license such as the MPL if you want to cover your ass against "predatory forking", you know. Assume I wanted it to work on windows XP, or ARM, or whatever? I'd just feel awkward to me to be banging my head against a game.. Groping for whatever chink in the black box I may be able to spot from the outside, and knowing deep down my tool of choice has the same fundamental downside.

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This is not a standalone program that can be ported freely on any platform.

It's meant for Windows Steam (at the moment) games.

Steam is not supported on Windows XP anymore.
You can download very old Steam version but how long will it be allowed to log in?

Besides it's not that easy to make XP version.
Last version of Qt framework that supports XP is 4 years old,
and may have some features missing.
You also need old matching Visual Studio.

All that effort to support couple of games that may not work on Windows 7 or above?
Not reasonable.

It would be more appropriate to ask for source of those old games,
so they can be made compatible with modern systems.
Not the other way around by shoehorning new program to work on old systems.

ARM? What kind of games are available for this architecture? Other than mobile games.

Similar situation with Linux or Mac. You will not play many games there.

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This software looks like would be an ideal local software companion to PCGamingWiki. However as it stands, there are too barriers to entry for the average user. Firstly the fact that there is a cost at all will mean you won't get the adoption or numbers you need to incentivise you to maintain this going into the future. Secondly we as a community need to know it'll be maintained for years to come, and it either needs to come from a very established team or it needs to be open source so that others can use it in the future. Thirdly one developer can't maintain fixes for all these games and needs a critical mass of users to contribute constantly and I think it's only posible if you make it free an open source. To make monetisation work I suggest ads/Patreon - look at SideQuest or GameSave Manager for good examples of this kind of model.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi there! :)

Some time passed and here is update.

Firstly, price was reduced. Additionally program is on sale now.

Secondly, more games are supported.
Also support for some existing games improved thanks to program updates.

Now to program features.

1.
Dark theme was added.

4c498abb9a174b24196f08b66f19a30e18790f1b

2.
Screenshot manager was added.

8da93b8eefc9d882bcceac443c33199b4d77f35d

Can move PNG screenshots into nicely named subdirectories.

3.
Second EXE without admin rights was added to solve problems with Steam initialization.

4.
Launch parameters are injected when game is started with "Launch game" button.
Previously manual change of launch parameters in Steam game properties was required.

5.
Games can be launched / killed even if not supported.

6.
Basic integration with LUA was added.
For now it's used to transform FOV values if game does not store FOV directly.

Here is script (save function) for Firewatch game:

bdb4958f4e5d33eac02993d51c5f5224a1c7adba

7.
"widescreen-fix" tweak was added.
Downloads and installs widescreen fix from https://thirteenag.github.io/wfp.

a95a1842bebcdc08cf69cc16fc57c9e261827866

8.
"config-value-float" was tweak.
Used by Widescreen Fixes Pack configs.

9.
"config-raw" and "config-raw-value" tweaks were added.
Used where config has something more than simple key value entries, like:
- commands in Unreal Engine 3 configs
- bindings in Quake 3 Engine configs

10.
"registry-string" tweak was added.

11.
"registry" and "registry-value" tweaks support NULL default value
(so entry can be removed if tweak is disabled).

12.
Notepad++ is now launched instead of system notepad in following cases:
- config has non-Windows line endings
- config is JSON
- config is XML

13.
JSON configs are now supported.

There are still some things on TODO list:
- support for non-Steam games
- advanced binary file editing via LUA scripts

But the program is still unsung 😞

Perhaps adding info about it for games that are supported would help a bit...
Also separate page for program would be nice.

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I'm going to try to stay as respectful and constructive as I can, but I am really against this kind of thing. More specifically, the idea of selling this program. Let me elaborate.
I've been a contributor here for a while, and a modder for decades. One of my most recent project is for the Arkham games, a full overhaul. We made a custom launcher to replace the vanilla one, which basically does what your tool does (and more) but only for Arkham Asylum.

Mind you, I am not saying any code was stolen, or that the standard UE3 tweaks we (the Arkham team) suggested are ours - it is standard UE3 stuff after all. Public knowledge.
But here's the problem. I understand there is a lot of work being done to make this tool compatible with a lot of different engines. However what that also means is that you can basically lift every PCGW page's content and roll it into a program... That is closed source, and that you're selling. In modding circles I'm involved with, it is seen as leeching on a never-before-seen level to put it mildly. I've heard some very, very harsh criticism of this project in said circles. I am not saying that you are indeed just lifting wholesale PCGW's pages, but there's no way to prove it or disprove it and thus, it will always remain a concern.

If the program was free, I would applaud the effort and if it was open source, I'm sure a lot of people would give you a hand (i.e experienced modders with this or that engine etc.). Myself included. The lack of credits is also an issue many people have, and that I stand with. I understand you do have your own exclusive tweaks, but how about the more common ones? Repackaging them and selling it, without credits on top of that, makes a lot of people I've talked to reject the idea immediately. 

I felt like expressing those concerns as politely as I can, I have no ill-will towards the tool's author but I cannot approve the project as it is now. With that said, there is no denying that such a tool could improve PC gaming as a whole, and that's the sad part. The price itself isn't a problem IMO, it's the fact of selling it itself. Even as a Patreon reward it wouldn't fly - just look at what's happening with Marty's RTGI Reshade shader for a good example: a lot of people are distributing it freely as a way of showing disapproval. This is most likely what's going to happen if it keeps being sold. To be clear, I do not approve this kind of behavior either, but it is the most likely outcome. 

I would suggest having a donation prompt instead, and having it open source; that would negate the crediting concerns and as always, if people like what you're doing, they will throw you some money. This is exactly what happened with the Arkham & Nier: Automata projects I'm involved with and I can assure you people will donate. On the other hand, asking for an "entry fee" in modding circles is never a good idea - Skyrim's paid mod & Creation Club are a good example too. This is most likely why this project doesn't get - and IMO will not get - much traction, sadly.

With all of that said, I'd like to emphasis that I am not for starting a crusade against this project or its author. And if you're reading this and agree with my thoughts, please don't do that.

Ultimately I sincerely hope some kind of middle ground can be found, as a tool like that would be a great benefit to everyone.
 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi there everyone! Greetings in new year :-)

As you might heard / know / suspect program was a flop.
In fact sales did not cover even marketing costs.

In the meantime I changed my view on many things...
Now I'm thinking about releasing source code on GitHub (GPLv3???).
Anyone would be interested?

I did all coding and colleagues helped me with some games.
It will take some time to prepare source code for release (couple of weeks I think, I have to do other things, too).
Some stuff will be removed, eg. custom binary database format will not be needed.
I will also add more comments for future maintainers or contributors.
There are many unit / integration tests so it should be safe.

YAY or NAY???

/Piotr
 

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I am interested in this program and especially if it is open sourced on Github with a GPL license.
It's nice to see an application like this.
Please do post it on Github when you can.

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My offer have just expired.

I'm not surprised that no one answered. In fact I expected this.

I heard everyone is pro-modding and there is such thing like PC Gaming Wiki,
so I thought that such tool would be very useful / popular.
I poured all my heart into it to make it happen.
But when this tool was released, no one was REALLY interested.
Not in media, not in gaming community.

Even when I made it free.
It had MUCH MORE activations but VERY FEW installations.
Like only BOTS were harvesting it.

They say that picture is worth more that 1000 words.
Here are 3 pictures (3rd is TV series from 1995): a food for thought.
 

 

actors.jpg

game.jpg

nowhere man.jpg

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Dang, I'm sorry people didn't like this for some reason.  I would have been interested as a user, however upon install it said I didn't have any games installed.  Not sure why.

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