Hello! I am Halkun and I'm a mod from around here. I decided to pull myself out of semi-retirement to congratulate you on purchasing FF7 steam and answer a lot of questions that are coming up over and over again. Also, because my cell phone's email account is linked to the web site, I've been getting messages nonstop about newbies and so I'd like to address some concerns with that was well.
First of all, let me give you a little bit about the law of the land here.
Here at Qhimm forums we come from an older culture of internet users. The website itself has been up for over a decade and we maintain a particular type of etiquette which may seem strange for newcomers. We are a community of hackers. Not in the sense that we do anything illegal, but we the older definition of "hacking" that involves taking things apart and see how things work, and putting back together again in strange ways. There are some caveats to this which I will get to below. Without further adieu, I'll get to the FAQ.1) About modding the game.
I want to get this out first as it's probably the reason why you have come here. You probably have noticed that there is no Steam Workshop with this release of FF7. There is a very good reason for this. Unlike some other game companies, Square-Enix is openly hostile towards game modification
. They have shut down modding communities in the past, and on May 9th 2009 completely obliterated the Chrono trigger/Chrono Cross modding community by banning the mere discussion of the data formats for the games. This comes about because Square-Enix is a Japanese company, and any alteration of a game is seen as tarnishing and disrespecting the work as a whole. Our community here has also has light brushes with Square's legal team so we tread lightly on eggshells. We have modding rules here that seem strange to someone just coming in. You can find these FAQs in the modding forums. Now that I have that out of the way, you are probably looking for Bootleg, and a a tutorial for modding FF7 can be found here
Now that I got that out of way, let's work on the FAQ proper.2) What did I just buy?
You have purchased the 2012 re-release of the 1998 US version of Final Fantasy 7 for PC. This makes the version a re-re-release of the program. This means there are three "versions' of FF7 for PC.
1) The 1998 version. This is the moddable one
2) The "Square Online Store" version that was released in 2012
3) This version, which I will call the "steam version"
Ok, now. Here is the kicker about all three versions. They are all the same thing!
In 2008, the FF7 mod community noticed that the game used a modular graphics driver. The original driver was OpenGL and was with the PC demo released in 1998. It was changed to DirectX for the 1998 commercial release. A new OpenGL driver was written by the modding community and fixed many problems with the PC port allowing it to run on current machines.
In 2012 Square released the game with their own driver and hacked in cloud saves, achievements and such and such. THE ORIGINAL 1998 GAME EXECUTIBLE IS STILL BEING USED. It's just "wrapped" by the new driver and leads us to believe that Square has lost the original PC source code to the game.
The Steam version is just the 2012 version with a few Steam hooks. That's it
So, if you want to make FF7 moddable, you need to remove Square's graphic driver and replace it with the moddable fan-made one. You will lose cloud saves and achievements, but the original game didn't have them and if you look at the list of achievements, they are things you do in the game as a matter of winning it anyway. You honestly lose nothing.3) Why didn't Square-Enix recompile the game/re-port the game?
Looking at what Square-Enix has done to make the game runnable on newer systems, it almost directly mirrors how we do it. It would appear that they either have lost the original source code, or it's in such a state of atrophy, that it worthless to port. 4) What's up with the joypad controller support?
You are buying a game that was released in 1998. The only real controllers that were used for PC back then were a joysticks. WASD and mouselook were new technologies, and not even all FPSs had that!5) The graphics look like crap!
Yes, the original 3D background art was lost, and the 1998 port team had to use the low resolution PSX graphics. We have some mods to help with that.6) But it looked so much better on my TV!
That's because a television cira 1997 was a low-resolution analogue device. The best fidelity you could get out of it was around 512x240 non-interlaced. FF7 ran originally at 320x240.
For now I'm going to leave this thread open. I'll be around to answer any questions you may have or push you to an area that can better help you.