How to export and import item graphics from UO .mul files?
In last days, I received lot of questions like this and also got tired of answering the same thing again and again. So, why not to summarize it in to one article and then just simply answer with link to it?
We’ll need some application which understands .mul files. For us it will be mulpatcher. This app isn’t flawless, sometimes it gets bugged, which we know how to avoid to, but it’s simple and well-arranged.
First step is to prepare .mul files itself, that we are going to modify. So let’s create, for example in Documents, some working folder with whatever name. I’ll be using folder named uografika. Into this folder we need to place .mul files, that we going to work with. For now we are interested in arts, which contains graphics of all items in game, so we need art.mul and artidx.mul files. If you are interested in gumps, put Gumpart.mul and Gumpidx.mul files inside too. You can find those files in your Ultima Online installation folder. I used files from clean instalation of Ultima Online: Mondain’s Legacy.
Second step is downloading Mulpatcher, which I already mentioned. You can also put it into your working folder, to have everything nicely at one place.
Let’s start! Lunch the Mulpatcher and after a while, you should see a new window with Settings tab opened. Tabs are located at the bottom of the window, so maybe you’ll need to scroll a bit down to see them, or extend the window (recommended). At this tab, you need to set the path to the files we’ll be working with. Locate appropriate field for Art files and using the button with three dots […] navigate to your working folder, where we placed files moment before, and select corresponding files. It should be looking like on the picture below. If you are interested in gumps, do the same for the gump files mentioned before.
To be able to work with files, you need to load them into the memory. Do that by hitting Load button.
Now open the Art (S) tab, where graphic of all items from Art files is listed. There is also Art (M), where is only terrain graphics, which we are not interested in. So now, you have really long list of all graphics in game right in front of you. Under list itself, you can also find drop-down list, where you can limit list to show all or just empty/full positions. Under it, there is also Search field with corresponding button, which you can use to search for exact position using ItemID. Positions are numbered in hexadecimal format and every number (ID or ItemID) is unique. If you select whatever full (black) position from list, you’ll see it’s content at right side of window. If the position in list is red, it’s empty. We are not interested in any other stuff at this tab.
In order to create some new graphics, it is good to use some already existing graphics as a template. Let’s take a look on how to export original item graphics into common bitmap picture (.bmp). Later then, we can use this .bmp picture as template.
It’s really simple, just right click at desired item in list, from context menu select Save to Bitmap and then just select the file name and location. That’s it! Simple enough, isn’t it? I can just recommend to use ItemID as filename.
And how to import something new? It’s completely the same procedure, just right click the position in the list, where do you want your graphics to be imported, select Load from Bitmap and then select .bmp file you want to import. You probably want to add new graphics to the game without replacing existing (original) one, so select empty (red) position. Yet still not done!
Because all the changes are made into memory, after importing of your graphics, you need to hit Save button at Settings tab. By doing this, all changes you just made will be finally and permanently written to the .mul files, which you can choose after that. You can rewrite existing files in your working folder or create completely new ones.
Warning: Never modify files which you actually using to play, without making backup! (I case something goes wrong, you’ll need to reinstall your game.)
TIP1: For seachring by name of the item, it is recommended to load also Tiledata.mul file. At Tiledata (S) tab you can then also search by item name and use it to find ItemID, which you can later use to search at Art tab. In the same way, you can also use CentrEd. You can simply search Brick Wall for example, which will also show ItemID.
TIP2: If you have whatever filled in Search field, do not select anything except already selected search result from list. If you selected item, that is not corresponding with search result, program will get bugged. In this case, restart the program without saving changes to .mul files, otherwise file corruption is at risk!
With gump files we can work in exactly same way. You just cannot select whatever possition while importing gump graphics. There will be another tutorial for working with gumps later.
We are still few more steps away to see your new graphics in game. There will be more articles coming. If you replaced some existing graphic, you can just place modified .mul files to your UO directory, to see the changes in game.