Sunday, September 1, 2013

Guide: ME3Explorer first time setup information

What is ME3Explorer?

ME3 Explorer is a fan-built toolset used to mod the Mass Effect Trilogy. Several features are still under development and new features are still actively being introduced. With it you can decompress, load, edit and save PCC files. You can mesh and texture mod and create content mods for ME3 within the constraints of the tools and the limitations of the game itself. The toolset is useable for mod creators and for those that simply want to apply already created mods.

Why this guide?

This guide is specifically meant for people looking to start using ME3Explorer as a means of permanently replacing textures and meshes in Mass Effect 3. I might add information specific to the tools for ME1 and ME2 as well at some point but this guide is not specifically tailored towards modding the older games.

First things first

Backup your vanilla install files in the Mass Effect 3 folder. The tool does not affect game saves or other Mass Effect 3 files except the ones listed below:
  1. Make a backup of "PCConsoleTOC.bin" and "PCConsoleTOC.txt" in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BioGame". You can rar/zip them up together and mark them as your vanilla backup.
  2. Make a backup of your entire "CookedPCConsole" folder (all PCC and TFC files) in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\CookedPCConsole". Mark it as your vanilla backup. 

Which version should I install?

You can choose to download and install ME3Explorer one of two ways.
  1. You can use the latest SVN release. It is used by the coders behind the project. Releases are referenced by their revision (REV) number. SVN is a Revision Control System: a repository of files, often the files for the source code of computer programs, with monitored access. Every change made to the source is tracked, along with who made the change, why they made it, references to problems fixed or enhancements introduced by the change. You can decide to use this version to be completely up to date and to help test bugs in the newest revisions of the program.
  2. You can use the latest stable release from Sourceforge, which is often shorthanded to the "SF release". The SF is the latest SVN REV the creators deemed stable enough to transfer over. It will offer a choice between a Source and Binary release, you'll want to grab the latter. This version is specifically meant for those looking for the most stable solution that are not interested in bug-testing and helping development. It is always going to be slightly outdated. While most stable, this version is not necessarily bug-free.
As of this writing (updated Juli 29th, 2014) the most recent SF release is Version 0109k (Jul 7th, 2014). This the counterpart of SVN REV 653. The most recent SVN REV is currently 657.
Seeing this information is transient, it is always advised to check the bug report section on the ME3Explorer boards to make sure there are no mayor bugs with recent releases reported. It is also always good to simply ask if you are unsure how to proceed.

I normally always advise using the SVN as you will not be able to receive any support using older versions of ME3Explorer due to it being in constant development.At the moment however, my advice is to use the latest SF or SVN rev 653.

 ME3Explorer on Sourceforge           Tutorial on using SVN                    
ME3Explorer Bug report section       ME3Explorer version release News

Installation and first time setup

When downloading the SF you can place the Binary folder anywhere you find convenient (the SVN download is explained in the tutorial I linked above).
Now you'll want to navigate to the following locations to start up "ME3Explorer.exe": "..\Binary\" (SF) or "..\ME3Explorer\bin\Debug\" (SVN). 

ME3Explorer doesn't conventionally install so when you doubleclick the exe, the program will simply open. It is not yet ready for use though, as it needs to go through a one time setup procedure that will allow it to create and scan some necessary files in your game's install folder.
To start that process we'll have to start up Texplorer which is located under "Developer Tools".
You'll get a popup asking you if you want to edit DLC content as well.

This prompt allows you to pick whether you would like to mod the basegame only or the DLC content as well. While you might think there's no harm to include the DLC, there are several considerations before deciding which way to go with this so please carefully read the following section.

Why do we get this option at all?

Due to Origin's frantic DLC checking, it is impossible to mod DLC content without it throwing authentication errors once it's checked. As such, when you mod DLC content, you are forced to use a  'fix' that spoofs the DLC check communication for you and validates your DLC.
Download the DLC fix here: ME3 DLC Patcher. Simply copy the two provided files into "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\Binaries\Win32\" and say yes when prompted to overwrite.

Scan without DLC

Texplorer will create a tree-structure file (me3tree.bin) of about 6mb in "..\ME3Explorer\bin\Debug\exec\" (SVN) or "..\Binary\exec\" (SF) that it can (re)use to visualize the game's file-structure and to enable you to browse through and manually replace texture files. Upon running your first mod Texplorer will additionally create a file called “CustTextures0.tfc" in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\CookedPCConsole" and it will create an entry for that file in your "PCConsoleTOC.bin" that tracks it’s size. The scan will take about 15 minutes to finish depending on your setup. 

Scan with DLC

Texplorer will create a treestructure file (me3tree.bin) of around 20mb in "..\ME3Explorer\bin\Debug\exec\" (SVN) or "..\Binary\exec\" (SF) that it can (re)use to visualize the game's file-structure and to enable you to browse through and manually replace texture files. It will scan the basegame and will unpack parts of the DLC SFAR contents in theie respective DLC folders. These files are necessary for DLC modding so you can't delete them once Texplorer is done generating the treestructure file. Upon running your first mod Texplorer will additionally create a file called “CustTextures0.tfc" in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\CookedPCConsole" and it will create an entry for that file in your "PCConsoleTOC.bin" that tracks it’s size. The scan can easily take up to 2 hours to finish depending on your setup. 

Note: Seeing DLC is unpacked during a scan it's a good idea to back up your unmodded DLC folder, though optional as you should create a backup of the unpacked state as well after treescan has completed.

After the scan

Texplorer generated your treestructure file called "ME3Tree.bin" in "..\ME3Explorer\bin\Debug\exec\" (SVN) or "..\Binary\exec\" (SF). To avoid unnecessary rescanning when something goes wrong for whatever reason, make a backup of your treestruct. You can mark it basegame or DLC, whichever is appropriate, and be sure to add the revision number it was created with as well.
You can do this by hand, or use Texplorer's tree export functionality introduced in SVN REV 628.

If you opted to scan with DLC, make a backup of your entire DLC folder so you preserve the vanilla post-scan state of the folders to again avoid unnecessary rescanning.
When scanning with REV 623+,  make a backup of your entire DLC folder after treescan is completed as it's in unpacked state after so to vanilla compatible with your new tree you'll need a backup.

Formats Explained 

.PCC - The PCC format is what Mass Effect uses to package the game's content. As PCC files are the entire package, they can overwrite any changes made to the same file before replacement, AKA PCC mods should always be applied first as .MODs and TPFs can do specific replacements inside these modded PCC files keeping previous changes intact as long as they don't overwrite the same object inside them.

.SFAR - The SFAR format is what Mass Effect uses to package the game's DLC content. Every individual DLC has it's own default.sfar located in uniquely named folders at "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\DLC\".

.MOD - These are packages created by ME3Explorer that can hold binary, object and PCC replacement jobs. Because scripts used for the replacement jobs are included in the .MODs these are revision sensitive while the toolset is still under development, pay attention to which revision a .MOD was created with.

.TPF - Texmod is a utility to browse, extract, save and modify textures in Direct3D 9 applications. In order to share and distribute texture modifications, TPFs (Texmod Package Files) can be created which are compressed to prevent further modification. This modding method allows you to temporarily replace any texture in your application without the need to use an application specific modding tool or replacing any files in your application's installation. Using ME3Explorer, you can convert Texmod TPF's to the ME3Explorer .MODs format or you can load them in directly using the 'TPF/DDS Tools 2.0' and apply them to your game permanently.

.mod Compatibility

Be aware that DLC mesh .mods and basegame/DLC texture .mods created between REV592 and REV622 will no longer inherently work on REV623. This means the current SVN (628) is not compatible with the latest SF (600). TPFs still work as before through TPF/DDS Tools. In simple therms: Make absolutely sure .mods you are downloading are documented to be compatible with your version of ME3Explorer, be it SVN or SF release. Older mods can cause errors and/or simply won't apply correctly or at all.

You can use .mod fix capability in ModMaker post REV 628 to automatically fix the script for that .mod to work with the newer REVs. While this might work, we can't guarantee it will and best practice is always to seek out mods that are inherently compatible with the revision you are using.
We do recognize this isn't always possible.

To avoid issues with texture .mods caused by REV changes, you can opt to download .tpf files instead. The TPF/DDS Tools included in the toolset allow you to either directly apply a .tpf to the gamefiles as you would a .mod, or you can turn your .tpf into a .mod for your current revision.

Selecting mods

Any .MOD that was created with a DLC struct can be used to apply to basegame content, but whether it'll replace DLC content depends on your personal setup in regards to the treestruct you are using. Any .MOD that was created with a basegame struct is completely incapable of replacing DLC content, whether or not you are using a DLC struct yourself.

Sources for pcc / mod / tpf downloads:
Antarius' New Compilation of HR Tex (.MOD & fixed.tpf)   Varied texture mods
HR Textures by Ottemis   Varied texture & mesh mods
OTTE MODS    Hair mesh mods
ELE MODS    Varied texture & mesh mods
ELE's Tumblr    Hair mesh mods
Kani Hime's All Thumbs Production (PCC)   Varied texture & mesh mods
Voodooseason's Tumblr (PCC & .MOD)   Varied texture & mesh mods
Rana's Tumblr (PCC)   Hair mesh mods
wildeatheart27's Tumblr (PCC)   Hair mesh mods
nameislooney's Tumblr (PCC & UPK)   Hair mesh mods

Applying .mods

Applying .MODs is done using ModMaker, it's located under "Tools".
I personally always load through "Jobs", "Add Jobs to list" but you can also go through "File", "Load Jobs". To start applying your loaded mods, go to "Run", "Run all".
While applying mods ME3Explorer can run both hot in memory (but up to a shared cap of 4gigs) and hot on the CPU (up to 100% load on all cores), as such it can go unresponsive at times and lock up your system. You should be able to see it cycle through saving PCC files and applying the mod jobs in the debug window. Heavy mods are not just recognizable by the number of texture replacement jobs, they are also those in which a texture replacement job has a lot of instances in the game's PCC files and ends up having to use multiple threads to save each PCC file with. These are the mods that will spike your CPU usage and overburdening your system while these run is ill-advised. Should your program crash during mod installation, don't worry! Try re-applying the mods in question by loading in less at a time or go one by one and you should be able to reapply the mods without issues. You can also go through "Run", "Run Some" to check loaded jobs on and off. That way you can manually split an already created job list.

Applying .TPFs

In order to apply your Texmod TPF permanently to the game, the developers of ME3Explorer have created a nifty little thing called the "TPF/DDS Tools". It will allow you to load in any .tpf, check it's file formats for validity and if valid, apply it directly to the game as you would a .mod. You can also create your own fresh .mod for the textures with this tool.

This means that downloading a fixed format TPF will ensure you never have to pay attention to the Revision a texture-mod was built with in relation to the version you are using.

Launch ME3Explorer, go to "Tools" and pick "TPF/DDS Tools" in the dropdown menu.
In the window that pops up, click "Load TPF" and browse to the TPF you want to install.
Once you've opened it you'll see that the textures are listed now as is the texmod definition file (def). The definition file will help tell the game where these textures belong.

Every texture has it's own unique hex id or hash number (0xDB481023 for example), the game uses these to match them to the right textures in the game files. Texmod definition files provide the link between the filenames and the corresponding hex id's automatically when the tool can't find these id's in the filename itself. Now down at the bottom it'll tell you the Hashes were generated, click the "Analyse with Texplorer" button to let it scan if the formats are fitting for permanent replacement.
Once it's done it'll say "Finished Matching!". You can now hit "Install valid" to permanently install all valid textures to your game.

Now sometimes you might run into TPF's that are not in the right format and/or cannot be matched to their ingame counterparts. For these and other such issues I suggest you check out the more expansive tutorial on the TPF Tools by KFreon[/url] and the guide on fixing format issues with TPF's by KFreon.

Applying PCC mods

Some modders prefer to release mods by making a modded PCC file available for download rather than creating a .MOD file for mesh releases. ELE08 has written a nice guide on how to install PCC mods.
Be aware that PCC mods overwrite all other edits made to the PCC in question via regular mod application so always replace these first before you mod any other method. The same goes for content mod installers but they have their own install guides so I advise you seek them out and read them if you plan to use them.

Creating .MOD files from TPF

Texplorer was recently expanded with the ability to automatically generate a .MOD from it's base Texmod TPF as long as the file formats are correct.
This is usefull for all the TPF's that haven't been converted to .MODs yet, the recreation of old .MODs from their original TPF's and for people that experience issues with premade .MODs due to language version incompatibilities.
Unfortunately there are not a lot of active texture modders left and most released TPF's will have format issues for compatibility with ME3Explorer. Users like Antarius have made great contributions by creating fixed format TPF files with .MOD repacks by inactive modders to ensure people can easily use and repack their .MODs in the future. Here's a guide by KFreon on how to work with the TPF Tools.


When applying a .mod I am getting the following error:

Your version of ME3Explorer is newer than the .mod you are trying to apply and it is no longer compatible. Contact the .mod creator.

When applying a .mod, changes do not show up ingame, why is this?
If you are using REV623 or above, DLC mesh .mods created prior to that REV will no longer apply even though they don't throw a visible error. If this is your problem the debug window will show the following warning when cycling through the jobs it wants to apply:
"Error : Index was outside the bounds of the array."
If you encounter this, please alert the mod creator. Report any other issues to the bug report forums.

I'm getting a DLC authentication error after modding my game, how do I fix this?
As earlier mentioned in the guide, you will need to download a 'patch' that will enable you to mod DLC files while avoiding the authentication issue. Go here and download the files, copy the two provided files into "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\Binaries\Win32\" and click yes when prompted to overwrite.

I'm getting a DLC corruption message after modding my game, how do I fix this?
When you apply mods to the gamefiles and they apply to DLC, they add to the overall size of the SFAR for the DLC in question. When these SFAR grow beyond 2gigs in size individually, they will start throwing corruption errors because the game can't process them properly anymore. To counter this you have two options.
1. Easy method, check which DLC have grown above 2gigs and vanilla them by copying your backup back.
2. Hard method, use the process described here: post8640.html#p8640

I vanilla'd my gamefiles through Origin update or repair but Texplorer still claims I have files modified after Juli 2013 and my treescan fails? 
Unless you throw out all modified files and redownload them from scratch or copy a backup back over that you know with 100% certainty was created right after a fresh install, just using update or repair via Origin will not work. If that is what you have done, you won't be able to see which files were originally modified because it seemingly resets the creation date back to where it should be. Still they are not kosher and you run risk of treescan falling over them. 
You can check the debug output for Texplorer to tell you which files treescan is complaining about and vanilla them properly to try again.

How do I vanilla my game and update my ME3Explorer installation so I can start fresh?
Vanilla basegame: Start by manually throwing away your "PCConsoleTOC.bin" and "PCConsoleTOC.txt" in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\", and any basegame file in your CookedPC folder that has a date newer than 4/25/2012. Alternately copy in a vanilla backup by hand, more viable for people with slower internet.
Vanilla DLC: Copy in the DLC backup you created AFTER you did your DLC treescan. If you never did a DLC treescan you don't need to do anything.

"Check for Update" by rightclicking ME3 in your Library in Origin, it will reodwnload any missing files. Now, throw out your entire ME3Explorer folder, you should already have a backup of you ME3Tree.bin! Download the latest SVN of ME3Explorer and put your old "ME3Tree.bin" back in the exec folder. When you launch Texplorer, it should tell you it found an existing tree and it won't trigger a rescan.

How do I vanilla my game to basegame and get rid of ME3Explorer completely?
If you have no interest in using ME3Explorer anymore and you want to vanilla, start by manually throwing away your "PCConsoleTOC.bin" and "PCConsoleTOC.txt" in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\" Now go into "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\CookedPCConsole", sort by modified date and throw out any files that don't have a modified date of 4/25/2012. Be sure to include "CustTextures0.tfc". Now you'll want to "Check for Update" by rightclicking ME3 in your Library in Origin.

Alternately you can vanilla your PCC files by copying in a backup first, if your game is extensively modded and your internet connection speed is not amazing, this might be the better option for you as it won't have to redownload as many files. If you modded your DLC, you'll want to copy those over as well or manually undo changes by restoring the backups created by Texplorer. Method is described further down the troubleshoot section.
How do I avoid a rescan of the ME3Tree.bin in between updates?
You can at any given time update or completely refresh your version of ME3Explorer. To ensure that you don't have to unnessecarily rescan your Treestruct anytime you do, you'll want to hold on to a copy of your modified "PCConsoleTOC.bin" and the "me3tree.bin" and if you scanned DLC as well, a copy of your DLC folder. Remember that you cannot rescan the tree on a modded game, so this can save a lot of time.

I have copies of both treestructs, but switching doesn't seem to change anything.
This only applies since the REV 490 fix: Be sure to run Texplorer once between switching your treestruct and trying to apply .MODs to make sure the program is aware of the change.
I am trying to run a .MOD or manually replacing textures, why do I keep getting the following error?

When you first set up ME3Explorer and run your first mod, it will create "Custtextures0.tfc" and create an entry for that file in your "PCConsoleTOC.bin". Some mods seem to fail at generating this entry at times. If you followed this guide to the letter you will have a backed up copy of your modded TOC.bin which you can place back over the vanilla version to restore functionality.

How do I undo changes to basegame files made by a .MOD I just ran? 
You can most easily spot which PCC files were altered by going into your CookedPCConsole folder and sorting list by modified date. Any unaltered basegame files will have a modified date of 4-25-2012. Replace the PCC files with the appropriate modified date with the vanilla backup you have for them. Alternately, throw the modified files out manually and redownload through Origin.

How do I undo changes to DLC files made by a .MOD I just ran?
You can use the debug window to check which DLC files were edited while applying the .MOD:

In this example, DLC_HEN_PR was edited and as you can see, the program notes that an automatic backup was created while editing it. To revert changes all you have to do is go to "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\DLC" and open DLC_HEN_PR, delete "Default.sfar" and rename "Default.bak" back to "Default.sfar". You can also copy your backup over the edited DLC folder.

ANY additional errors or problems should go directly to the official bugreport forums, NOT here.
This post is merely meant to catch most common issues to alleviate the pressure on the mods and admins on the ME3Explorer forums and to weed out known issues and newly discovered bugs that are yet to be resolved.

ME3Explorer bug report Forums

Now go forth and mod to your hearts content.


  1. Awesome tutorial, added a link to it on the wiki :)

    1. Cool, was just about to make a copy to the tutorial section on the ME3Ex boards.

  2. So cool.

    iirc, you suggested (here, @ BSN or both) to start with a "vanilla'd" installation. Of course that makes sense for "restore" purposes - but, would this include coalesced mods? (I've got a thoroughly hacked coalesced struct now, which seems fairly separate & distinct from .PCC tweaks, etc..) - hmm, then again it lives in CookedPCC.. so perhaps that's my answer ;-)

    I've just been using texmod thus far, cautious about "permamods", but I've many .tpf that always go in (many r yours), so figure I should byte-the-bullet so to speak. Another reason for hesitation is the DLC question - I'm a bit wary of the patcher now - it's creator is occupied with other efforts currently, and it's being maintained by .. a relative stranger - raises concerns is all... (and feelings of solidarity/loyalty). Mostly I know that I can trust the original dev, but I know nothing about the, uh, other .. person. oh well... Think I'll grab an older ver. or maybe just steer clear for now.

    1. Yeah the Coalesced doesn't matter, I keep a backup of my modded ones and when I vanilla I just copy the modded version back in straight after and run the TOCbin Updater. Together with the modded TOC.bin and the treestruct those always survive vanilla through backups =)

      Honestly because of the state of the Patcher atm, especially if you're still looking to run texmod as well on the side, I'd not do DLC editing yet atm. All my .MODs in the thread are built with a basegame struct, so those should be completely unable to replace DLC content. For as long as the functionality is a bit up in the air, I think I'll keep it that way in therms of .MOD releases. If you don't mind using a cracked exe though, it should be fine, but my downloadable .MODs won't support it, would have to rebuild them with DLC support via the TPFs.

  3. Hey, found your guide from Mass Effect 3 Nexus, still prefer .tpf xD

    I tried a little bit of me3explorer, trying to convert .tpf files to .mod files and it already failed at that so... no.

    I already downloaded all the mods I wanted from that giant post on Bioware's Forums, all .tpf, so, unless I find a awesome, irresistable mod I'll try to learn this.
    TexMod is simple and no need for backup.

    1. Haha very true, well unless you plan to load so many texmods at once that it becomes non-viable to use, there's no need to switch really =)
      Personally I like to mod my basegame permanently, but still use texmods for what's left over atm =) Not as much loadtimes and no hassle dealing with the DLC authentication that way.

  4. Hey Otte - Been awhile. How're you? Saw the pic of the Rotterdam skyline in the morn.. beautiful!

    Quick Q: I've finally begun installing a few .mods after months of loading the same core set of .tpfs ;-) Like you, I decided I still prefer to only mod basegame and not DLC... (You make that very nice and easy with your mods, btw ;-) Anyway - I wanted to mod a couple of the frequent adversaries - i.e. Cerb and Reapers... to that end, I grabbed a couple of mods that "Karlitos" had created from Smartek .tpf files... and I figured, hey - y'know - basegame.... I didn't dig in to look closely at them (btw, I know how to decon a .tpf, and convert a .tpf to a .mod (thanks ;-) but--- what about the opposite? I've seen nothing about making a .tpf from a .mod).. back to it: So, naturally, as I was installing these 3 or 4 .mod files (me3explorer considers each .pcc a job I guess... so, nearly 45 jobs in all)... and of course I got several errors, as I did not elect to include DLC content when I did the scan. I am hoping this will just result in the original textures loading from the DLCs -- but I haven't checked it yet (it's still finishing up actually). Not sure if I'll just back them all out or .. what I'll do.. but wish I'd been paying closer attention. It's not surprising - but I just figured a Banshee is a banshee, and didn't consider DLC would be targeted. It's on me.. Should I expect problems if I do nothing at this point?

    Thanks, and -- no worries if you're too busy these days! Happy Holidays!

    1. So - as I'm sure you already knew of course - this doesn't cause any problem in the game, beyond that any textures (from these mods) loaded from DLC will still be vanilla. It's odd - really didn't imagine that Reapers or Cerberus crew would have DLC entries mod'd by those .mods I chose... will examine them more closely before applying now. Cheers.

    2. Yeah they do that at times, don't really understand why they would have a double entry for textures already in the basegame in DLC but from what I can gather they are always "dominant". And yeah as you noticed, you are fine running DLC mods with a basegame scan, it'll just drop you an error message saying "X items could not be found/loaded", don't know if they changed the message between revisions, I haven't run into it for a while myself =)

      And yeah, no there's no (easy) way that I know of to deconstruct a .mod by stripping textures from it. Most .mod's are based on TPF's so it doesn't matter a whole lot. TPF's are the preffed base-file regardless seeing we sometimes need mods rebuilt between revisions.

    3. Hej - the reason I was wondering about peeking in to .mods was that I wanted to see what this "Units of.." conversion (from unnamed .tpfs) was actually modding. Of course, now I know that I can just add the file as though I'm going to "run" it, and then see how it breaks down via the display (and debug windows) of me3explorer -- and then can decide if I'm ok with it. As far as extracting - I guess I'd have to install it first.. but after doing a few mods, including a couple of my own "creations" (I like to add a little color to some of the weapons... or texture ;-) --- it's so straightforward to put them in, and to pull them back out really - as long as one just pays attention to what they're doing of course ;-) After an all-night gaming binge (or party with friends ;-) followed by several hours of mod'ing? Then all such activities are risky - for me anyway, heh.

      I am going to PM you - I seek your advice on something, and also I have created a couple of .mods that I want to "run past you" real quick. I'll try to avoid tl;dr :-)

    4. Yeah it wouldn't be so bad if repackers would properly list their sources when they build .mods but that's very often not the case and then it's definitely not straight forward to see what'\s what >< One of many reasons why I want to keep doing these things in-house for as long as I can concerning my own mods.

      And that's cool, poke away! Were you gonna PM on zhe BSN or?

  5. TPF/DDS Tools doesn't show up in the menu.

    1. Update to the latest SVN or the SF and you should be able to find it under Tools.

  6. I have no idea what the hell an SVN is or an SF. I downloaded the latest version I could find from Sourceforge which shows to be R632. All indications are that it is the latest version.

    1. SF = Sourceforge. Both the SVN and the SF are detailed in the guide.
      Latest builds should all have DDS / TPF Tools, if you cannot find it make a screenshot of your collapsed 'Tools' top nav menu and make a post in the help section of the official ME3Explorer forums.

    2. Btw, if you were updating from an older version it's good practice to completely remove the previous installation of ME3Explorer and downloading it from scratch.

  7. It's the r632 version. If that's not the newest one I don't know what is. Looks like I'll end up posting that on the forums.

  8. OK, I figured the SVN bit out and have done several texture replacements successfully. The odd thing is that the default N7 Shepard armor isn't always replaced. In one save game it's the original texture and I can load another and it will be the replaced texture.

    So far that's the only one that's done that.

    1. If you don't have DDS / TPF Tools in your version of the toolset something is wrong with the install. And yes REV632 is recent enough, the latest SVN is REV643. I cannot vouch for any mod installations as long as your ME3Explorer isn't showing basic functionality as I can't be sure it's a proper functional install. If you haven't tried to re-install the toolset from scratch that is my best advice. If you currently have a post REV623 treescan then you can back that one up before you remove the toolset (it's in the exec folder), you can place it back in the exec folder once the toolset is redownloaded and avoid having to rescan the tree.

    2. I am using a newer SVN than that and the DDS/TPF tools are working now. I've integrated plenty of textures at this point. I'm just noting that the default N7 armor texture doesn't normally show up in the selection screen window, and in some save files (these take place on the Citadel, so I'm wondering if this is a DLC related thing) and show up in other save game files which are taking place in the regular game.

    3. Textures sharing the same wrap and ID should blanket-apply across basegame and DLC via TPF Tools unless the wrap and thus the ID changes between basegame and DLC. If the mod was not created to include different wraps/versions of the outfit it will not apply in those instances. If this is one of my mods, please provide screenshots of the exact locations where the texture does not show up and I will have a look. If it's someone elses mod, I can't assist.

  9. It isn't one of yours. The texture's not being replaced in the preview don't concern me. In my current play through it works everywhere else thus far and that's fine. I was curious if you knew any reasons why it wouldn't work in both places. What's even stranger is that sometimes it does or has in the past.

  10. Just wanted to add a vote to include specific ME1 and ME2 instructions as you said you might do at some point. As a new player of the series I'm not really confident enough to do it myself for those games.

    Thanks so much for this ME3 resource, though. Incredibly helpful.

    1. I will once the Texture tools have been revamped for ME3 (ongoing atm) and have been properly ported for ME2 and ME1. As it stands the toolset is still quite unstable for both ME2 and ME1, but this should change in the future.

  11. Hi,thanks for the tut, I have the latest svn, have set up the tree but "load" is greyed out in the tpf/dds tool. In Texplorer both the game and the tree are found (both have a green "3") but in the tpf tool the "3" is still red under "Tree Found?". "Game Found?" has a green "3". Any ideas?

    1. If you are new to using the toolset, you are best off downloading either SVN rev 653 or the latest SF (which is also rev 653). 654 introduced some mayor changes that are still being bugtested atm so it's simply not the best revision to mod your game with atm.

      More information in the news section on the me3explorer forums:

    2. Thank you, that did the trick

  12. Thanks for your hard work on the guides. For me, Texplorer scanning gets stuck at 1440/3379 :(

    1. I canceled and did it again, this time it told me that it will break the universe, so I picked no and now it's past 1440.

    2. If you scan on modified files, treescan will almost certainly fail in such a fashion. This shouldn't happen if the files are vanilla.

    3. Yeah I think at some point I replaced the original backup with the modified files by mistake. But the scan was held at 1440 at first time scan, when the files were still vanilla.

    4. Anyway the scan is complete now, I will test further and report back. Thanks for the reply.

    5. Afaik, cannot happen, maybe it corrupted due to vanilla method. For instance, when you vanilla and don't manually delete modded files before running Origin update, it sometimes leaves them in a state that treescan will fall over. Freshly downloaded from scratch is best state to back up and scan ontop of.

    6. Aha, then that is probably because I changed my origin install folder. I then backed up the Mass effect 3 folder and uninstalled it from Origin, started the download and moved the files back, maybe it has something to do with that, I will do a fresh install.

    7. moved the files to the new folder***** not back

    8. Ok after further testing, I couldn't get past 1440. Apparently it gets stuck scanning BioD_MPTowr.pcc

    9. never mind, I just deleted the specific .pcc file, and repaired the game, it's all good now. Sorry for the annoyance, I'm only reporting for the overall educational reason and for you to know that I have solved the problem.

  13. "ME3 game files not found. Tree not loaded." in DebugWindow
    What to do?

    1. Generate a tree ontop of a vanilla game by launching Texplorer.

  14. Hi Otte - Long time. Too long!

    I hope this finds you well and happy :-)

    I.. I recently updated my ME3Explorer to Rev. 653 as you recommend. I only did it though after I experienced this problem - and the problem did not go away with Rev. 653 :-(

    Background: My last .mod was applied, successfully, in late May. At that time, I was using the ME3Explorer rev. that you were recommending at that time ;-)

    No problems. In fact, the game runs fine, although I did mess up a texture at some point with a bad normal map - or that's my suspicion.. in any event, I decided I wanted to correct this - even if it meant just going back to vanilla on that texture. Problem occurred when I went to run Texplorer from with ME3Explorer- it fails with an OOM... OutOfMemory exception - during the treescan... which doesn't make sense to me, considering I'm running with 8gb and have never experienced issues of this sort, and the problem occurs regardless of how much mem is actually free (with 5gb free, it still occurs... so the exception is suspect, or just not understood). In any event, the first thing I did, after encountering this problem, was move to Rev. 653. The only changes that had occurred to the game were Origin's updates... and I didn't imagine they were gamefile updates, but rather just Origin app tweaks. I had not applied any new mods, as I said, since May. Game still running with no problem other than the pasty white arms on my outfit-4 male characters ;-) (my own tweak to your awesome outfit 4 which I told you about in the past)... somehow I tweaked the norm (or perhaps tint..?).. and the arms lost their "flesh tones".

    Anyway - the problem now is, as I said, Texplorer just fails every time it's doing it's initial treescan - the tree is unchanged, so it's very puzzling. I do have all backups that you recommend, and perhaps even a few more (I have a few backup treescan files... from before I started doing DLC mods too). Oh yeah -- this is a basegame + DLC ME3Explorer setup.

    Have you heard of anyone getting the System OutOfMemoryException from Texplorer?

    I have not tried JIT Debug or anything at this point.. lol. I realize that you may well instruct me to file a bug or contact KFreon or someone else, but thought I'd ask you - and it's been too long anyway ;-)

    This is the stack from the OOM, just for kicks and giggles:

    ************** Exception Text **************
    System.OutOfMemoryException: Exception of type 'System.OutOfMemoryException' was thrown.
    at System.IO.BinaryReader.ReadChars(Int32 count)
    at ME3Explorer.Texplorer.Texplorer.ReadFile2()
    at ME3Explorer.Texplorer.Texplorer.LoadFileNames()
    at ME3Explorer.Texplorer.Texplorer.LoadMe()
    at ME3Explorer.Form1.texplorerToolStripMenuItem_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.RaiseEvent(Object key, EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripMenuItem.OnClick(EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.HandleClick(EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.HandleMouseUp(MouseEventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.FireEventInteractive(EventArgs e, ToolStripItemEventType met)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.FireEvent(EventArgs e, ToolStripItemEventType met)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStrip.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mea)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripDropDown.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mea)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmMouseUp(Message& m, MouseButtons button, Int32 clicks)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ScrollableControl.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStrip.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripDropDown.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.OnMessage(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

    1. Hey! Long time no see/hear indeed =)

      The OOM error doesn't have anything to do with available system memory, it does with the toolset hitting it's built-in cap so to speak. OOM errors are actually an old issue that should have been resolved, I've not seen one in ages tbh. Did you update the toolset through the update tool or redownload the toolset from scratch? Latter is best.
      You can try to run the treescan with minimal background processes running and close the debug window entirely as that one is crash sensitive.

      If this persists I'd honestly take it to the me3explorer forums, include screenshots of the error and note the moment in treescan it bums out. Whether this is always around the same mark or random etc.

  15. :-)

    I realized that I was using my aprilia1k login in the past, so wasn't sure if you'd recognize me - you are the coolest, Otte ;-) Pretty Kitty, btw ;-)

    I use tortoiseSVN and updated to revision 653. I do notice a slight variance in the debug binary size from that on the SourceForge dl page.. perhaps I'll grab it from SF and give it a try.

    Thanks! Great to see/hear you :-)

  16. Please i need some help!
    when i try to open default.sfar with me3explorer's DLC Editor i get this!

    Unhandled exception has ocurred in your application. If you click
    Continue, the application will ignore this error and attempt
    to continue. if you click Quit, the application will close immediately.

    The given key not present in the dictionary.

    See the end of this message for details on invoking
    just-in-time (JIT) debugging instead of this dialog box.

    ************** Exception Text **************
    System.Collections.Generic.KeyNotFoundException: The given key was not present in the dictionary.
    at System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2.get_Item(TKey key)
    at System.Collections.ObjectModel.KeyedCollection`2.get_Item(TKey key)
    at AmaroK86.MassEffect3.DLCBase..ctor(String fileName) in d:\My Documents\ME3 Commit

    ************** JIT Debugging **************
    To enable just-in-time (JIT) debugging, the .config file for this
    application or computer (machine.config) must have the
    jitDebugging value set in the section.
    The application must also be compiled with debugging

    For example:

    When JIT debugging is enabled, any unhandled exception
    will be sent to the JIT debugger registered on the computer
    rather than be handled by this dialog box.

    Many Thanks in Advance.

    1. Bugs with specific tools should be reported on the ME3Explorer forums. This is a first time setup guide, not the place for questions about tools not covered in the guide itself.
      When you post on the forums, make sure you include the version of the toolset you were using and what you were doing exactly when you encountered the bug. Pointers can be found in the stickied post on bug reporting in the bug report and help subfora's.

  17. I need help real bad, I'm trying to use explorer and obviously it needed to scan for first time setup, but it keeps getting stuck on 610, please help I have no idea what to do

    1. I meant texplorer, please respond ASAP

    2. The scan usually only gets stuck on modified files. If you've previously modified your game in any way and/or can't vouch for the integrity of your gamefiles, treescan can 'hang'. I would suggest you 'vanilla' your gamefiles and try treescan on a clean install.

      Either copy in a vanilla backup or check the modified dates of files in your ..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\CookedPCConsole folder, manually delete any files newer than 4/25/2012 and trigger a redownload via Origin Update.

    3. Where are my gamefiles? Sorry I'm new to this

    4. Depends if you changed the default install path for Origin.

      Standard it'd be on your C: drive here:
      "C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games/Mass Effect 3/"
      The relative path is:
      "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\"

    5. If you have a 32bit system the standard install path is:
      "C:/Program Files/Origin Games/Mass Effect 3/"

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. As I said, sort by modified date in "..\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\CookedPCConsole" folder and manually delete any files newer than 4/25/2012. Trigger a redownload through Origin Update afterwards.
      You can try to treescan again once that is done.

      I would suggest you ask someone for help if you can't find the install folder and/or don't know how to sort by modified date.

    8. Never mind, it's working but I will let u know if something bad happens again, thank u

    9. Ok well I intalled the texture mods by using the tpf tools because it could be used permanently but afterwards, the game keeps crashing the moment it starts up, is there a solution?

    10. You can try running the TOCbinUpdater and see if that helps, vanilla, and try again, keep a close eye on the debug window when you apply the mod and screenshot any errors then ask for support from the modder that created the TPF (unless it's smarteck as he only support texmod usage) and/or post about it on the ME3Explorer Forums.

  18. Hi!

    I'm trying to install .mod-files using ME3Explorer(Modmaker) but have run into a problem. I load the mods/jobs I want to install and press run all. Then it says "Installing Mod:...1/23 mods completed" at the bottom but after that nothing happens. I have left it alone for hours but it appears to be stuck. I have tried installaing the mods one by one but with the same result. Do you know what the problem is?

  19. Im trying to install HR textures for mass effect 3, when I use autofix, it gets stuck "Fixing" a texture, it works fine for mass effect 2 but three I don't know why, Heres the debug log

    11:26:37 PM: Fixing: HMM_HGR_SHPg_Norm
    FORMAT -> Current: DXT1 Expected: V8U8
    MIPS -> Current: 1 Expected: 9
    (Its been "Fixing" this for 15 minutes, Please replay ASAP"

    1. As I said at the bottom of the guide:

      ANY additional errors or problems should go directly to the official bugreport forums, NOT here.

      This post is merely meant to catch most common issues to alleviate the pressure on the mods and admins on the ME3Explorer forums and to weed out known issues and newly discovered bugs that are yet to be resolved.

  20. One stupid question: Is there a way to add new outfits without replacing an existing one?

    1. That's not a stupid question although it's better asked on the official toolset forums.
      In theory yes I think. Though this is by no means easy (otherwise we'd all be doing it). Involved hex editing and otherwise haxxing of the original gamefiles required (through cloning to name a thing).

    2. Well, it should be similiar to the way some DLCs add new outfits.

    3. Best asked/discussed on the toolset forums, I've not been active in the scene for some months and there have been developments since so best to check there.

  21. Hi, I'm stuck on the scanning part of the set up. It says 2570/4095 and the file that is being scanned is:


    When I tried to open the file, all I could find in the location was "Default.sfar" and nothing else like "BioH_Liara_04.pcc".

    I tried to follow the information from the previously asked questions like reinstalling the game but it didn't help. I do, however, have a file in my CookedPCConsole called "AreaMap_CitHub_Camps.pcc" that is dated 9/11/2014.

    Previously, I have use texmod to add lots of textures to the game. Would that have been a problem? I really don't want to delete all the stuff I downloaded cause finding and downloading them again is going to be a pain.

    How can I fix this issue?

    1. I've run the setup a few more times and it keeps stopping at 2570 but the file being scanned is different every time.

      The last time I ran it, the file was:

    2. BIOGame - DLC - DLC_EXP_Pack001 - CookedPCConsole
      Delete the following:
      (Obviosly keep your preferred language)