Lost Alpha is a very tweaker-friendly game, right in the tradition of the canon S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.
How tweaking works
Like the canon S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games Lost Alpha is built on the engine paradigm, meaning there is a core engine (called xRay) providing basic services like visualization (the "how") and configuration files for level design, game mechanics and so on (the "what"). The core engine is available as a binary only, but that is no obstacle as all tweaks can be done by changing the configuration files (often referred to as "the gamefiles"), which are (mostly) in text format and therefor easy to modify.
The standard set of gamefiles is packed into archives (*.db*) for performance reasons, see Browsing the gamefiles for details and how to unpack those files. These archives are the first place the core engine will look for a specific file.
The second place the core engine will look for specific files is the mods folder inside the game's installation directory. Here you may find another type of archive (*.xdb*), containing the modified configuration files belonging to game modifications or simply mods. This mechanism of game tweaking may have existed in all versions of Lost Alpha but was only used in v1.4007.
The third and final place the core engine will look for specific files is the gamedata folder inside the game's installation directory. Here you can simply place modified configuration files which will override the identically named specimen in the above mentionend locations. This mechanism is working in all versions of Lost Alpha (and in the canon S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games).
- Unpack the gamefiles for the game version you would like to tweak as described in Browsing the gamefiles.
- Locate the fsgame.ltx file in your game_folder and make sure the line starting with $game_data$ looks like this:
$game_data$ = true| true| $fs_root$| gamedata
Tweaking the gamefiles
Now identify the file in the files_folder that you would like to tweak and copy it from files_folder to the same location in the game_folder\gamedata, i.e. files_folder\config\misc\dream.ltx must be copied to game_folder\gamedata\config\misc\dream.ltx. Edit the file to your liking and test your tweak.
Things to keep in mind
- Tweaks are usually depending on the version of the base game. As a tweak replaces a complete original file and those files may have changed heavily between Lost Alpha versions (especially after v1.4002) a wrong version of a tweaked file may crash the game.
Some easy tweaks
Lifting the carry weight limit
There are numerous addons to raise the weight the player can carry. As the change is really simple you can easily create your own version.
- Works with v1.4000+
- Required files
- Change minimum max_weight to the maximum weight you want to be able to sprint with.
- Change minimum max_walk_weight to the maximum weight you want to be able to walk with.
- Change maximum max_weight and maximum max_walk_weight to some value about 60% higher then the respective minimum values.
Lifting the trunk capacity of cars
In v1.4007 the capacity of car trunks was limited to some incredible low values, limiting their use as loot wagons.
- Works with v1.4007
- Required files
Blowouts and psi storms
Some consider them essential for the game's atmosphere, some say they are the worst design fault of Lost Alpha - blowouts and psi storms. Fortunately there are ways to make them less obstructive to the game play.
- Works with v1.4005+
- Required files
- In the la_atmosfear_default_paramaters (sic!) section change the value for opt_blowout_enabled to false if you want to completely disable blowouts and psi storms.
- In the same section change the value for god_mode to true if you want blowouts and psi storms to occur but let the player be invulnerable to their effects.