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[TUTORIAL] PakHelper, the makeobj frontend for Windows

Started by vilvoh, April 30, 2010, 09:07:33 AM

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This is a tutorial about PakHelper, the great makeobj frontend for Windows created by Minami-Fukuoka Car Corporation.

1. Downloading and installing

First of all, we must download the program from the author's website. Then we decompress the zip file and we get a pakhelper folder which contains the files you see in the image: the binary, the ini file, the makeobj binary and a readme.txt file with the instructions of usage in english.

2. Updating the makeobj version included

The makeobj version included may be pretty old. If you want to update it (we strongly recommend it) in order to use the latest features like offset, length, etc.. you can replace it by any other newer or older version. Go to Options >> Select Makeobj and select the makeobj binary you prefer.

QuoteNote: almost every new version of Simutrans brings with it a new makeobj version that is available at Simutrans Sourceforge download site.

3. Making a pak file with PakHelper

After that, we click on ParkHelper.exe and we find a simple and intuitive interface. All options needed to compile a pak file are on hand at PAK tab.

First, we select the pakset we're going to create the object for: pak64, pak126, pak96, etc... Notice that we can specify any size of graphics. If we want error warnings, we just check the Error check option. Then, we go to the Select dat file text field and we type the path of the dat file we want to compile. Another option is to push the Open button and search for it.

Then, we push the Do pak button and voila! In case the dat file contains the definition of several objects, you'll get several pak files. If you want to merge them and get a single pak file, you just have to specify the single file name at Merge pak file name text field.

The pak file is created in the same directory where the Pakhelper binary is located. In that directory also exists a file called pak.log where Pakhelper stores all warnings and error messages generated during the compilation process. You should take a look at it in case there's any problem (it can't access to the images, typos, outdated attributes, etc..)

4. Advanced options

The rest of tabs give you access to the advanced options of makeobj. At Merge tab you can join several pak files into a single one, just click on Open and search for the pak file. Repeat it as many times as pak files you want to merge. You will see a list of pak files ready to be merged below Select pak files text field. Then, type the single file name at Merge pak file name field and click on Do merge. You'll get a pak file with that name.

The List tab allows you to get a list of objects contained in a pak file, in case there's more than one. Click on Open and select the pak file, the program will add it to Pak file list. You can repeait it as many times as you want, in order to add more pak files. When you have finished, click on Do list and you'll get a list of objects contained in those pak files.

QuoteNote: It just list the content, it does not extract any information or image from the pak file.

Finally, the Extract tab allows you to extract pak files from other pak files. Theoretically, it should allow you to extract the content of the pak file, but the pa file format is not reversible

QuoteNote: It's not possible to extract the dat and png files form a pak file

That was one of the reasons for using this format, to keep the copyright, although now the sources of some paksets are available via SVN or

The process is the same as before: we select the pak file or files pushing on Open and then we click on Do Extract. The program will show all messages and warning at Extract log and pushing on Move pak files, we'll get the list of extracted files.

In addition to that, also exists the option to specify the where we want to leave the pak files after the compilation process. Go to Options >> Select extract pak files folder menu and search for the directory where we want to leave those pak files.

5. PakHelper mini version

There's also a mini version, with a very tiny two-buttons interface, one for the pakset type and the other for creating the pak file. It's only recommend for those who only need to create the pak files.

Btw, there's no GNU/Linux version but I guess you can run it using Wine (I haven't tested it)

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