Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Special Thanks to XULLuxolid for their clear & concise Mod Loader instructions for their mods!

Preface

You want to start using some of these fancy FFXII (12) TZA (The Zodiac Age) mods but you have no idea how to do things?
Maybe the instructions are unclear?
Let Daedalus show you the way!  ;)
The DrakLab Mod Loader is the preferred way to easily add and remove mods from your install without constantly having to copy/paste/replace the VBF file whenever you want to change things around without bugs.

Preparation

A - Install Final Fantasy XII - The Zodiac Age if you have not already done so.  This guide presumes you installed it via Steam but if it is ever available elsewhere then it should work similarly.
B - To avoid file permission issues, the easiest method of installing games tends to be installing OUTSIDE of Program Files or Program Files x86.  The two Program File directories are 'protected' by Windows and require manual 'take ownership' to work properly with many games, otherwise you run into issues.
C - In addition, installing Steam outside of these directories AND running Steam as 'Admin' will also mitigate many of these potential file permission issues.
D - Be sure to run a FULL 'chkdsk' and 'defrag' on your system before doing modding.  Skip defragging if you're using a SSD (Solid State Disk).  I left chkdsk running overnight while I slept to do a detailed check of everything using the following command where X is your drive letter: 

CHKDSK X: /F /V /R /X /B

You want to run an administrative command prompt and then run the command.  If you have more than one drive, do it for each one.

Mod Loader Instructions

1 - Open DrakLab Mod Loader by RUNNING AS ADMIN.
2 - Click the 'Open VBF' button and then navigate to your FF12_TZA.vbf file and confirm.
3 - Click the 'Add Mod' button.
4 - Navigate to the directory where the mod is located.
4a - For example, for my Daedalus FF12 TZA Equipment Mod, I want to select the Mod folder, NOT the 'ps2data' folder inside!
4b - Here are the CORRECT and WRONG ways of doing mod loading.
5 - The mod will be loaded and appear in the mods list on the left side.  Select the mod in the list so it is highlighted.
6 - You should see the name of the mod appear in the box on the right side along with a green checkmark and a Recycle Bin icon.
7 - Click the green checkmark to 'Activate' the mod.
8 - After doing so for each mod you want to use, you will see 'Apply Changes' at the bottom of the mod list.
9 - Click the 'Apply Changes' button and if all works well it should be ready to go!
10 - Be sure to Click the 'Exit' button to exit the DrakLab Mod Loader before running the game!

Article License

This entire article and any included/linked images are released under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike v4.0 International license.
Anyone is welcome to translate, repost, and share this work within the linked CC license limitations.

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DaedalusMachina007

10 comments

  1. PoppinBooty1
    PoppinBooty1
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    Making my first comment ever to tell people who can't get this to work that the date is March 6th of 2021 and I just used this to mod armor for Basch in ff12. If you're having problems there's a guide in the Help section, and there's a link to a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ZVtLGgY_A&t=10s
    This helped me and it worked first try. Goodluck!
  2. BeingDs
    BeingDs
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    So this doesn't appear to work. It won't let me inject files for more than one character since all the directories with actual files in them have the same name: "gamedata". Trying to Add Mod on the outer folders fails. Renaming them makes injection fail. Any idea what I should do?
    1. DaedalusMachina007
      DaedalusMachina007
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      This guide is outdated now and is only used for the manual 'Draklab Mod Loader' method. That method has been superceded by the more user-friendly 'Vortex' method for mod installation.

      Basically whatever the 'manual download' is but placed into an archive file (zip, rar, 7z, etc) and then loaded into Vortex. I haven't personally done testing/updating of my mods yet due to IRL obligations, but I will do so when time permits and will make updated 'Vortex' downloads available for my current/active mods.

      As for your specific situation, I would need to know which mods you're trying to install before being able to assist you further. Please send me a PM via Nexus and we can sort it out.
  3. CommandoSoldier
    CommandoSoldier
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    There is no ps2data file in my mod. Can't I simply choose the mod itself and be done with it? I get error message everytime when trying to install my mods with Draklab.
    1. DaedalusMachina007
      DaedalusMachina007
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      Hello! This manual method with Draklab is mainly for those who are unable to install the mods directly via the Nexus Vortex.
      If you would like some more direct technical assistance, please join my FreshGaming Discord server: https://discord.gg/MPGWjgb

      For now, it may be useful to mention which mod you are trying to install as many of the older/legacy mods may not be in the proper format for Draklab/Vortex compatibility.
  4. Cielani
    Cielani
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    Thanks a lot for the guide. :)
  5. Trorbex
    Trorbex
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    I'm obviously missing something, because whenever I try and use DrakLab for the Zodiac Planner mod (both by the same guy, 'VaanSkyPirate'), it gives me a message saying, "Error loading the mod. Check the log." The log then gives me a message of "Loaded 0 mods. Some files do not have a match within the vbf:" followed by 12 variations of "D:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE\FFXII_TZA.vbf_mods\ZodiacPlanner\ps2data\image\ff12\test_battle\us\binaryfile\board_x.bin"

    Also, curiously, the .bin files were originally read as SNES9X files by my SNES emulator. I doubt it's related to the issue, though.
    1. DaedalusMachina007
      DaedalusMachina007
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      You don't want to load mods from within that directory. Start with 'ps2data and make an encapsulating 'main' folder for it with the name of your mod.

      Your path should look something more like this:
      MainModName\ps2data\image\ff12\test_battle\us\binaryfile\board_x.bin


      I would recommend creating a dedicated modding directory in your 'Documents' folder or another location on your computer.
  6. yuri70072
    yuri70072
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    there is only the message "Some files do not have a match within the vbf:"
    what do i do?
    1. DaedalusMachina007
      DaedalusMachina007
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      I'd need to know what files you're trying to insert (full file path within the VBF starting with the base folder) to help you further with this.

      For example, my OneJobs mod has the following full path:
      Daedalus FFXII-TZA License Boards Mod v1.2 OneJob\ps2data\image\ff12\test_battle\in\binaryfile\board*.bin
      Where * is a whole integer from 1 to 12.

      Here's a response from the creator of the DrakLab Mod Loader regarding your issue.