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Current and Past Projects:

Case Study: Enabling Mod Support in Crysis 3

Crysis 3 is a frustrating game from the modder's point of view. For over seven years, this game has rejected virtually every attempt at modding: whether to deliver new textures, maps, or community bug fixes. Crytek offered us the free CryEngine SDK in lieu of native mod support. Unfortunately, that SDK only allows the creation of new games and is useless for modding Crysis 3 itself.

After spending four very long days with IDA Pro, HxD, and Cheat Engine, I was able to analyze the highly obfuscated Crysis 3 executable and discover how the asset files were encrypted. I then developed a tool that would decrypt the game files and re-encrypt them with a public modder's key, thereby allowing everyone to create and share their own mods. This tool avoids copyright infringement by working directly with the user's legal copy of Crysis 3—no copyrighted game files are distributed by this tool, and no such files will EVER leave the user's computer.

The Crysis 3 Mod Enabler is freely available for anyone to use under a Creative Commons license (see the readme for more details). This tool backs up your game folder as a safety precaution; as such, you will need approximately 30 GB of free space on your computer to use it. You must already possess a legal copy of the most recent Crysis 3 version (on Origin) before using this tool. Only single-player mods are supported. Do NOT use this mod in multiplayer or you might get banned!

The Crysis 3 Mod Enabler does not come with any mods of its own. But please consider giving my NanoContinuity Mod for Crysis 3, the first mod ever for Crysis 3, a try!

File Crawler

File Crawler

File Crawler is a free Java-based search tool that is up to ten times faster than regular Windows Search. This application can search by file name, extension, size, last-modified date, and more. It can also detect duplicate files and search the contents of files such as Word or Excel documents.

Unlike other search alternatives, File Crawler fully supports regular expressions for both filenames and content to give you extra search power. IT staff and system administrators will be pleased to see an integrated file tracking and highlighting system for scrubbing those troublesome network files (in fact, this application was originally designed to find and redact social security numbers). File Crawler can be used in a full command-line mode e.g. on servers, provided Java is installed.

A rare treat in these days, File Crawler does not connect in any way to the Internet and never collects or transmits data of any kind. Sensitive searches will not leave your computer/server.

While you are free to use File Crawler for any purpose you see fit, this application should not be hosted by or distributed from any site other than http://lordzapharos.com/.


JavaMon

JavaMon

JavaMon is an extensible, open-source, fully-documented game engine which aims to provide a suite of tools and templates for developing 2D RPG-style games. The engine includes a turn-based battle engine, 2D sandbox maps, and event-based scripting. The primary languages for this engine are Java and Lua, but you need almost no programming experience to create your own game!

The engine is finished and is currently open to selected beta-testers (an open-source release is still pending). Copyrighted material is never distributed with JavaMon, ensuring that you can use it in most any project.


Wyoming Global Technology Summit

I assisted my advisor Jeff Clune with editing a video of his research talk at the Wyoming Global Technology Summit, 2017. See the video here.

Web/Graphic Design

In my spare time, I do freelance web design and graphic design for clients. This includes: creating new websites, maintaining existing websites, designing logos, converting raster-based designs to vector, restoring old photos, etc. I am well versed in HTML, PHP, JavaScript, Photoshop, and many other languages and software (a complete list is available on my CV).

I also designed the website for my previous job at Brandeis University's Getz Multimedia Lab. You can check out the website here (update: this seems to be down at the moment).


Game Mods

Several of my more popular mods are listed below. Unfortunately, I don't have much time for modding games any more, so this list won't be growing very quickly.

File: Description:
NanoContinuity for Crysis 2 This mod reworks the Nanosuit in Crysis 2 to more faithfully resemble that from the original Crysis and Crysis Warhead. Restores Speed Mode, removes the Armor Mode energy drain, and more! When paired with the Crysis 3 variant, you can play through the entire Crysis trilogy free from the jarring "watering down" of the Nanosuit between games.
NanoContinuity for Crysis 3 Same as previous, but for Crysis 3. Requires the Crysis 3 Mod Enabler (see further up on this page).
Enhanced Saber Realism A mod for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. Inspired by a previous author's work, this modification enhances lightsaber damage and dismemberment for more realistic combat. A must for this game!
Items and Gameplay Mod A mod for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. Adds several new lightsaber colors, new guns, lightsaber crystals, and armor. Also overhauls the skill/stat progressions for all character classes to make them more true to their in-game description. Known to produce occasional dialogue bugs in some games (remove the *.dlg files if you have trouble).
ZMOD v3.1 A mod for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. One of my most popular mods, this was part of a larger project to create a new 5-act story building upon the ending events of the original game. While the project was ultimately abandoned due to time constraints, this modification contains many of the new items and gameplay overhauls, including a general increase in difficulty. Note that a bug in this version prevents you from killing the Countess in Act 1 (all other quests function normally).
Glass Duel A multiplayer map for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. Won second place in the JK3Files beginner-level map contest.
(TES5) Arrows to Ingots Adds crafting recipes for converting arrows back to ingots in the popular Skyrim mod Requiem.
(TES5) Dragon Souls Experience System Converts Skyrim's experience and death system into that of Dark Souls. Skills can only increase by spending XP, which is earned by doing everything from defeating enemies to chopping wood. If you die, you return to the last visited shrine or checkpoint. If you die again before retrieving your "soul shard" (containing all of your items), you will permanently lose all gold and XP. This mod also introduces an old-school RPG class system to improve immersion and prevent you from over-generalizing your build.
(TES5) Finders Keepers (Better Stones of Barenziah) Stop using your browser to complete No Stone Unturned! This Skyrim mod adds a lore-friendly book to help you find all 24 stones (and also improves the final reward of that quest).
(TES5) Guild Ranks and Progression Are Skyrim's main guild quests breezing by too quickly for you? This mod adds skill/loyalty checks without changing the guild quests themselves. You will need to use guild-related skills and complete jobs/favors for fellow members before you can "move up" in the guild ranks.
(TES5) Inigo Avoid All Combat Adds a true passive mode for the popular Skyrim follower Inigo, such that he won't attack other enemies at all.
(TES5) Necromancy is Hated Did you ever wonder why everyone in Skyrim denounces necromancy, but no one bats an eye when you raise the dead right in the middle of town? This mod makes NPCs attack anyone who dares to summon such vile abominations in public.
(TES5) TDF Equipment Restrictions for Duelists and Assassins The popular Skyrim mod TDF Equipment Restriction prevents you from wielding higher-grade weapons without sufficient skill (similar in spirit to Dark Souls). This mod is an extension of TDF allowing duelists to block with their weapons without separate training in Block, and allowing assassins to wield high-level daggers with only investments in Sneak.
(TES5) The Legendary Red Eagle Borrows an idea from Dark Souls to finally make Red Eagle's blade useful. Red Eagle's Fury deals almost no physical damage, but high fire damage (similar to Quelaag's Furysword). The variant Red Eagle's Bane is inverted, and causes nearly all undead to flee.
(TES5) Useful Requiem Beverages Brings unique effects to the many beverages of Skyrim, making them useful outside of pure roleplaying. Also improves the White Phial to better match Requiem's enhanced difficulty curve.
(TES5) Vilja Avoid All Combat Adds a passive mode for the popular Skyrim follower Vilja, such that she will almost never attack other enemies at all.
(TES5) Wait I Know You Bug Fix Fixes a vanilla Skyrim bug with the "Wait, I know you..." dialogue line, and also forces you into conversation with any guard who utters it.
(TES5) Weapon and Armor Etching A SkyProc patcher for Skyrim that creates "etched" versions of all mod-added armor and weapons in your load order, allowing you to keep your favorite-looking weapon or armor for the entire game. Talented smiths can upgrade their mod-added blades into silver, ebony, dragonbone, and even daedric variants (especially important for Requiem, which uses such materials for core game mechanics). Light and heavy armor can also be upgraded, and all crafted items can be further enchanted or tempered.
(TES5) Whispering Fang Unarmed Combat Adds a full unarmed combat system to Skyrim (requires Requiem), including unarmed blocking, knockdown/disarm effects, and various other perks. Let your fists do the talking!