Mass Effect 3

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Changes the colors of Engineer Shepard's combat drone. Includes OVER 30 easy-to-install presets!

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Custom Combat Drone Colors for ME3

This mod is no longer supported. Editing drone particle colors in ME3 is too finnicky for me to maintain. Rather than removing the page, I'm keeping it up so that the documentation is still available in case anyone wishes to edit their own drone color. I highly recommend editing the .pcc for your own setup rather than installing the mod, in order to limit compatibility issues. 

This is a DLC mod that changes the color particles of Engineer Shepard's combat drone. It does not affect the combat drones of other characters, like multiplayer drones or Tali's drone. It includes over 30 easy-to-install presets, which are described below the installation.


 Like other mods that replace a .pcc package, the presets should be installed before texture replacements like ALOT. Otherwise, something might break. Again: only install before installing ALOT!

1. Install ME3Tweaks Mod Manager. If you already have it installed, just open it up.
2. Download the main file on this mod page.
3. Import the file downloaded here into ME3Tweaks Mod Manager by dragging and dropping the .7z archive onto the main window of Mod Manager. Click the button to import the mod, then select the mod on the left, then press Apply Mod. You will be asked to select which preset color you want to install; you can only select one option. The default option is Vanilla+, which makes the outer eye of the drone light blue.

That's it, the mod is installed! You don't have to do anything else. Let me know if you have any feedback, and enjoy!

Known Issues:
  • Presently, Tali's combat drone (Chatika) will assume the colors of Shepard's combat drone. This is unintentional and I am working on a fix. It's an interesting issue: it's as if Tali's drone doesn't read the color values of her own file. Her file could tell her drone to be bright white and it'd still be default orange. If the modded .pcc of this mod is loaded, it will assume Shepard's drone colors instead. Once I can figure this out, I will also be releasing a version of the mod that restores her drone's pink appearance from ME2. However, I won't have much time to work on this until early August, so unfortunately this bug will persist for some time.
  • If you play a Multiplayer match with a character that has a combat drone and then later switch to Singleplayer without first closing and relaunching the game, Shepard's combat drone will be stuck as default orange. This could be related to the first issue; however, because this is such a fringe case, I'm not devoting much time to fixing it.


There are over 30 presets in this mod. To simplify things, I have arbitrarily divided them into three categories: the Legacy series, the Inverted series, and the Fun series. Every preset is available in the mod manager.

The Legacy series includes all presets with the prefix "Legacy". These presets are inspired by my Mass Effect 2 mod, which takes Bioware's color values for NPC drones and applies them to Shepard's drone. For example, Legacy Green uses the values of Geth Prime Green, which is the green used by Geth Prime combat drones in Mass Effect 2. Vanilla+, which is the default option for this mod, is how Shepard's combat drone looked with the Attack Evolution in ME2. Similarly, Attack Chatika is how Tali's combat drone looked with the Attack Evolution in ME2 (purple is how she looked unevolved, pink is how she looked with the Explosive Evolution). These values do not exist in vanilla ME3: Shepard and Tali's ME3 drones will always appear full orange regardless of evolution. This mod's presets fix that.

The Inverted series includes all presets with the prefix "Inverted". These presets are the direct opposites of Legacy series presets: whereas Legacy Green makes the inner core green, Inverted Green instead makes the outer eye green and leaves the inner core alone. This series exists because of differences in how ME2 and ME3 drones are visualized. In ME2, the color of the inner core also controlled the color of the background glow of the drone — in other words, the inner core color was the prevalent color. In ME3, there is no background glow and the outer eye has a larger appearance, so the color of the outer eye is the prevalent color. Enter the Inverted series, where changing the outer eye color is the primary focus. It also includes inverted Vanilla+, Attack Chatika, and Enemy Drone presets, in case you'd also like those.

The Fun series consists of presets that don't quite fit in the other two. It has six Full Color drones: White, Red, Green, Blue, Purple, and Pink. Full Color drones are all one color. For example, Full White has a white outer eye, a white inner core, white sparks, white spawn effects, and white death effects. The series also has the R2-D2 and N7 presets from the ME2 mod, as well as their inverted versions. The most recent edition to the mod is the Glyph-like preset, which uses the color values of Liara's Information Drone, Glyph. Note that Glyph-like ONLY adjusts the color. I have not yet figured out how to make Shepard's combat drone use Glyph's specific materials, though that is something I would eventually like to do.

If you have any additional preset color suggestions, please feel free to give them! That being said, you could also...

Make Your Own Drone:
This is completely optional!

This mod consists of color value presets that I have chosen, but anyone can make their very own custom color values! This is a guide to help with that. Before you start, make a backup of your files. You could technically do this to the vanilla .pcc file, but I strongly recommend installing one of the presets and making your changes to it's .pcc file instead of the base game .pcc. Why? Because this is a DLC mod, so it's super simple to uninstall if you make a mistake - just delete the DLC folder in the game directory, then reapply through the mod manager! But if you make a mistake to the base game .pcc, you might have to end up reinstall everything. Just a fair warning! Always have backups :)

Note for those who followed the ME2 guide: this is a bit more involved, as ME3 drone colors are in the particle system. The basic steps are still the same, though.

1. Install the ME3Tweaks Fork of ME3Explorer. If you already have it installed, just open it up.
2. Open the "Create Mods" menu and, under the "Core" section, open Package Editor.
3. In the top-left, click File, then Open, then navigate to this file in your ME3 installation: 
Mass Effect 3\BioGame\DLC\DLC_MOD_CustomTechball\CookedPCConsole\SFXCharacterClass_Engineer.pcc.
4. Don't freak out. This is easy, it just looks scary. If you don't have backups of vanilla files yet, make them.
5. What we're looking for is the particle system of the combat drone, which is affectionately referred to as "techball" by the game's files. On the left, scroll down to (Exp) 6462 BioVFX_T_TechBall(Package). Expand it. Alternatively, type "6466" into the UIndex on the top toolbar, then press Goto # to skip to step 7. You can directly skip to any of these exports by typing the first number into the UIndex and pressing Goto #. It saves a LOT of time!
6. Scroll down to (Exp) 6466 Particles(Package). Expand it.
7. The Particles package includes 12709 Tech_Ball, 12710 Tech_Ball_Death, 12711 Tech_Ball_Evolved_Explosive, Tech_Ball_Spawn, Tech_Drone_Attack_Muzzle, TechBall_EMP_Shock, and TechBall_Explode. You should only really concern yourself with the first particle package, (Exp) 12709 Tech_Ball(Particle System). Expand it.
7a. There are two values which adjust the colors of the techball. The first is located in (Exp) 8333 ParticleModuleColorScaleOverLife_0 and is called (Exp) 4029 DistributionVectorParticleParameter_0. The second is located in (Exp) 8334 ParticleModuleColorScaleOverLife_1 and is called (Exp) 4030 DistributionVectorParticleParameter_0. 
7b. 4029 controls the color of the outer eye and ring effects. 4030 controls the color of the inner core.
8. In the Interpreter tab to the right, look for the pink Constant tab. Open it up by clicking the small arrow to its left. The XYZ values there control the color of the drone, and correspond to RGB (but not exactly - see XYZ below). Make the color changes you want, then SAVE the package.

If you would also like to edit them, the colors of the death particles can be found under (Exp) 12710 Tech_Ball_Death. Look for 8335 ParticleModuleColorScaleOverLife_0 and 8338 ParticleModuleColorScaleOverLife_76, near the top. _0 controls the color of the dead inner core and _76 controls the color of the dead outer eye. The same step works for (Exp) 12712 Tech_Ball_Spawn or any other Tech_Ball package: open it up, look for a ParticleModuleColorScaleOverLife that can be expanded, and the color controlling the particle effect can be found in the Constant of the DistributionVectorParticleParameter under it.

X, Y, and Z:
These values control the color of the drone particles. XYZ approximate to Red, Green, and Blue, but that's not all — they also control the glow intensity of the drone. Set the values to 0, 0, 0, and you get an invisible drone; set the values to 255, 255, 255, and you get a white drone. BUT! Because the glow intensity is also linked to the values, you should NOT use regular RGB values. A more in-depth explanation of these multiplicative linearcolors can be found in the description of my ME2 mod, but basically:
  • The smaller the numbers, the less the glow.
  • The higher the numbers, the more the glow.
  • The important part is that the numbers are proportional: [2, 20, 5] has the same exact color as [1, 10, 2.5], but the former has a stronger glow.
  • If you have an RGB value you want to use, divide each of the three values by 255. Then, multiply the resulting numbers by a constant in order to bring the number in line with Bioware's values. I suggest 10 or 20.

Here are the color values of the provided presets, so you can use them as starting points for your own custom drone:

Note that if you are using ME2 drone values, you'll want to divide by 2 in order to bring the glow in-line with ME3 drone appearances. For example, ME2 green is [2, 20, 5]. But because default ME3 orange is [10, 2, 0.5], you'll want to try to keep XYZ values in the same range. Thus, Legacy Green being ME2 green divided by 2: [1, 10, 2.5].

1. "I already have ALOT installed, and I don't want to reinstall everything for something as small as this. Is there a way I can use this mod with ALOT already installed?"
Yes, but ONLY if you're comfortable with editing Package information yourself. SAVE ANY FILE BEFORE YOU EDIT IT! Just read the "Make Your Own Drone" section. Instead of opening the DLC mod in Package Editor, open Mass Effect 3\BioGame\CookedPCConsole\SFXCharacterClass_Engineer.pcc. If you just want to use one of the provided presets, don't worry about the information dump on how the XYZ values work — just input the XYZ preset values provided at the end of that section. Every provided combination uses those values, e.g. Attack Chatika is primary pink, secondary V+ blue.

2. "Why is this a DLC mod? Shouldn't this be a texture mod?"    
I wish, but no, it's not a texture. In ME3, drone color information is controlled by the drone's particle system inside specific packages. For the Engineer, that's SFXCharacterClass_Engineer.pcc. That makes changing drone colors significantly more complicated than saving a texture as a simple .tpf or .mem. That's why I provided these presets as a DLC mod: to easily allow people to have custom color drones.

3. "Is this compatible with X mod?"
This should be compatible with any mod that DOESN'T change the SFXCharacterClass_Engineer.pcc file. AS FAR AS I AM CURRENTLY AWARE, any gameplay mod is currently compatible. (If that changes in the future or you notice an incomptability PLEASE let me know.) As for texture mods that change the file: either install the preset before installing the texture mod, or ignore installing the preset altogether and make the color tweaks yourself (see question 1).

4. "Does this mod affect the combat drones of other NPCs?" 
No. This mod only touches Shepard's Combat Drone, exclusive to the Engineer class. Other drones are not affected. It also does not affect the drones in multiplayer.

5. "What's the difference between Full Blue and Glyph-like?"
While the two are quite similar, Glyph's blue values are slightly dimmer and less saturated. In my opinion, it's a much more neutral and easy-to-look-at preset than Full Blue.

6. "What about the blue circle surrounding the drone? Is there an option to remove it or change its color?"
The blue circle around Shepard's drone is a lens flare. It technically has a texture (TechBall_Flare, or 0x38830C3D), but the flare effect is more complicated than that. At this time, I have neither the plans nor the motivation to add an option to edit or remove it, because I have no idea how it's set up and I actually quite like it. Sorry if this is disappointing :( Feel free to dig into the .pcc yourself and see if you can't remove it!