Questions

Why does Stellar Manipulation crash my game?

SE5 1.66 has numerous bugs exposed when large numbers of stellar object types are defined. FQM Beta 13+ has over 3200 planet entries. Such amounts cause memory access violations when executing most Stellar Manipulation projects. Another SE5 bug involves access violations on map generation with more than ~6000 objects, which is why only half of the GPT planet textures are actually used in FQM Beta 13-14. The bugs have been found by Malfador, and are fixed in the currently beta 1.68 patch. According ot the Phong intel network, there should be a new public patch in the next week or two.

Why aren't there any moons?

There are, actually. Refer to this article on the SE Wiki for further information.

Can I use this mod with another mod?

You can only use one mod at a time. However, you can manually combine the data files of two mods, resulting in a version with the changes of each. In the case of FQM, it can be combined with most mods easily, since most mods don't do much to modify the planet/system/map data. If the mod does make changes to such files, you have to consider whether you want to try to merge the changes or overwrite them entirely. Let's use the Balance Mod as an example. Combining with Balance Mod mod is especially easy, since it already integrates an earlier version of FQM.

Keep in mind that the latest FQM version is not savegame compatible with the old version included in BM. You will need to start a new game, and do not try to load an old saved .map file.

If you want to keep a version of Balance Mod unaltered, so you can play PBEM/PBW multiplayer games, follow this process (which is what we recommend):

If you don't care about multiplayer savegame compatibility, follow this process:

Nebula systems cause my frame rates to grind to a halt. How can I fix this?

As part of making them look good, we had to increase the amount of storm objects in nebula systems. This results in far more bitmap effects being rendered on-screen at once. The FQM storms have fewer bitmaps, but they are rendered larger to smooth them out and make them more nebulous looking.

In the stock game, each nebula system is composed of 20 storms. Each storm requires 40 bitmaps to render. Thus, there are 800 bitmap effects in a nebula. In FQM, there are 60 storms per system. However, the storms were altered to use only 20 bitmap effects. The total number of bitmap effects required is 1200, which represents a 50% increase in bitmap count.

On newer hardware, this doesn't make much of a difference in rendering. On older hardware, this can sometimes be too much to handle, dropping frame rates to intolerable levels. The obvious solution is to return the nebula systems to drawing the same number of bitmap effects. There are two ways to accomplish this. The first is to reduce the number of storm objects in Nebulae systems, and the second is to reduce the number of sprites in each storm.

1) To reduce the number of storms per nebula, open up FQM\Data\SystemTypes.txt and locate the Nebula systems. There are 20 of them, grouped together. Locate the "Number of System Objs" line and change it from 60 to 40. Do this for all 20 Nebula systems. Now, there will be 40x20 bitmaps to render, the same 800 total as in stock. Each one is drawn larger, but that has a fairly small effect generally. If this is not sufficient to restore playable frame rates, you could try reducing the object count to 35, or 30 failing that.

2) To reduce the number of sprites per storm, open up FQM\DataileClasses_Stellar.txt and locate the Nebulae Type 1 xfile classes. There are 11 of them, grouped together. Each class uses 4 different sprite Effects. Each Effect has a "Duplicate Count" of 5, resulting in 20 sprites per object. If we reduce each "Duplicate Count" field to 3, we get 12 sprites per object. Now, there will be 60x12 bitmaps to render, a total of 720, less than the stock 800. Make sure to change all 4 Duplicate Count entries for all 11 Nebulae Type # classes. If this is not sufficient to restore playable frame rates, you could try reducing the Duplicate Counts to 2.

I am experiencing intermittent Stream Read Errors while playing with the mod. What gives?

Adobe Photoshop inserts non-standard garbage into bitmap file headers (though only when saving with the "Windows" format). Most programs are able to cope with this. However, whatever graphics library SE4/5 use has trouble with these file headers, sometimes, on some systems, resulting in errors when trying to read the file. These issues tend to be difficult to detect in SE5, because it does not always have issues with a junky file header. It is a good idea to inform us if you encounter such troubles, so we can fix them in the mod.

It is fairly easy to resolve the issue for yourself, rather than wait until we update the mod at some indeterminate point in the future. The easiest way to resolve such issues is to resave the images as bitmaps in another program. Images are located in two places: under SE5/GameTypes/FQM/Pictures and under SE5/Pictures/Models (for the Multimedia Pack images). One option is to use the batch conversion utility of IrfanView (freeware) to convert the bitmaps into bitmaps. You might need to save the output files to a temporary folder first, to ensure that IrfanView actually saves them.

FQM ate my baby!

Sorry, we do not provide support for such issues.