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Nokuto

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Kenpeidan

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About this mod

A massive visual overhaul that transforms Sora and the guardians of light to Darkling-inspired anti counterparts. Includes all new custom weapons from Final Fantasy, dark effect swaps, anti voices, and a recolored user interface.

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Overview

Project Darkling is a mod that I have been working on since February 2022. In total, it contains approximately 4300 files weighing at over 1.8GB. The mod focuses on new Darkling-inspired textures for the main characters, custom weapons from various Final Fantasy games, darkness swapped effects, anti voices, and a recolored user interface. 

When creating this mod, I was inspired by the Darklings enemy in Kingdom Hearts Union Cross as well as Anti-Aqua. The idea was to corrupt the main cast the same way Aqua was while trapped in the Realm of Darkness. I wanted them to look in the early stages of transforming into an actual Darkling.

To complete the look, I imported many amazing weapons and equipment from Final Fantasy and even swapped the effects of Sora's attacks and movement. The UI was also completely reimagined.

Originally, I created this as a companion mod for Project Infection, now known as Kingdom Hearts III: Light vs. Darkness Edition. I think the two pair quite nicely albeit with a few conflicts. I also recommend Xantohjan Moveset Collection if you want a matching moveset to complete the dark trinity.

I had a lot of fun making this, I hope everyone enjoys it!

Feel free to check out the docs and logs section to view the mod's read me and changelog! Additionally, I've posted all of my notes in the articles section.


Tools Used



Characters

All of the main characters have new textures influenced by Anti-Aqua, complete with hair and eye color changes. I used a black, purple, and red color scheme to give them that "tainted by darkness" feel. Hair color values were taken directly from Anti-Aqua. For their eye color, I replaced the character's default eye materials with Anti-Aqua's. A recurring theme in all of my designs are glowing red hands with a shade of darkness going up their neck and forearms.

All of Sora, Donald, and Goofy's world forms were edited. Formchange costumes as well. My favorite addition is Sora's Baymax form which features a brand new AR Device from FF7R. Sora's Pirate form was replaced with his Secret Episode form; Pirate Donald and Goofy are simply replaced with their base forms.

Roxas, Axel, and Xion's coats were inspired by Anti Black Coat from Dream Drop Distance. I lifted his textures directly from KH3D and used Photoshop to place them over the character's coats. Vanitas, Naminé, Dark Riku, and Eraqus also have this coat design.

Character changes extend to the UI and their HUD portraits as well. Anywhere their image is present is updated to reflect their new textures, with the Kingstagram loading screen being the only exception, as it is completely removed in the UI pak. This includes images of the characters in the world, such as Sora's appearance in the 100 Acre Wood book or the various Station of Awakenings.

I used UE Viewer to extract character textures, then used Photoshop to recolor them. Hair and eye colors were edited using SoD2 Asset Editor.


Weapons & Equipment

I replaced everyone's weapons with various swords, staves, and shields from Final Fantasy. This includes Sora, Donald, and Goofy's base weapons as well as all of Sora's Formchange weapons. The remaining guardians of light, too. The mod is complete with custom UI icons and text changes.

The FF games I extracted the weapons from are Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Dissidia NT: Final Fantasy.

I replaced all armor and accessories with items from FF7R and Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. Stat changes remain the same, but they have new UI images and updated text. Some key and recovery items were also replaced, just for fun.

Weapons were largely extracted using Noesis. But for FFXV and Dissidia, I needed to use two programs to unpack the file archives first. Flagrum was for FFXV and Cethleann for Dissidia. Blender was then used to actually swap the weapon models.

Text changes were done using this locres editor by Klimaleksus. For the Union Cross names specifically, I used UAssetGUI to replace them with names taken from real users sourced from the OpenKH discord, KHInsider forums, KH Wiki contributors, and my Tumblr mutuals.

Thanks to Dallin1016 for his custom weapon replacement tutorial. Also thanks to Aproydtix for their simple weapon material guide.


Effects

The effects are my favorite part of Project Darkling. I swapped all of Sora's effects so that he uses darkness-infused attacks and magic. All effects were taken from Organization XIII. Donald and Goofy also have dazzling new effects including magic, team, and unison attacks.

Effect swaps primarily focus on Sora's Formchanges. His base form combos were left alone as to not conflict with custom movesets. I also purposefully did not change Double Form or any of Sora's links effects as to not clash with certain mods. You will see new effects for all of his attacks, magic, projectiles, reprisals, finishers, shotlocks, Formchange transformations, weapon impact and hit stars. Even movement such as free fall, doubleflight, and flowmotion/air step.

In order to view the transformation effects, please set Keyblade cinematics to basic.

I used the particle viewer, thanks to Luseu, to view effects and then SoD2 Asset Editor to change the file paths of the effects as referenced in either the animation or blueprint.


Sound

Project Darkling also alters the voices of the main characters, but only their battle quotes. Their voices have a lower pitch to highlight the fact that they are beginning to transform into Darklings. Huge thanks to Xantohjan for making them for me.

Cutscene and field audio stays the same. I also chose not to replace any BGM as to not conflict with music replacement mods.


User Interface

The user interface was recolored to have the same color palette as the main characters. I think this ties the entire mod together. Every menu and icon in the game was edited, minus the Bistro and Classic Kingdom portions. Most of the menu textures were edited using Photoshop. Text color was changed using UAssetGUI.

Extensive visual changes were done to the camp menu, Gummiphone portal, Theater Mode, and various other menus. For Theater Mode specifically, the preview images were replaced with new high resolution images showcasing the characters' dark redesign. The user interface also extends to the HUD including new HP/MP/Focus bars, the different targeting reticles, and the command menu.

I did a lot of Scaleform editing for pieces of the menus that are not textures as well as more text color replacements. I used HxD Hex Editor to first prepare the files and then JPEXS to make the actual changes. Thanks to YuriLewd for their awesome Scaleform tutorial and their custom title and loading screen files.


Showcase Video