Using Mergestk.exe
J.C.Spooner 2002

The mergestk program ( in the mergestk folder of FS2 ) is useful speeding up the process of creating fish stocks ( stk files ), that will have different requirements throughout shoals of different sizes. Say for example, you wanted to put some perch stocks into a peg, and the way you wanted them to behave was to make the bigger perch feed on the bottom with the smaller ones rising up in the water to take bait. I'm not saying this is accurate behaviour, just an example, but this would involve creating a set of stk files for the perch each getting progressively bigger in size, and having different FDEPTH values, the smaller ones, having say and ideal feeding depth of 50% and the large ones 100%, and graduations between these two for anything in between.

This would take a fair bit of editing of files and typing, even with such a simple example as this, the mergestk program makes this possible in minutes, rather than hours.

Using mergestk
To use versions of Mergestk prior to the one distributed with version 2.08 requires a knowledge of MS DOS commands, which is going to be too time consuming here to document, the 2.08 version doesn't though and can be executed straight from windows, so this is the one that is going to be explained.

To use mergestk, all you have to do is create a couple of text files in the mergestk folder, you can call them whatever you like, but in them, they should include the same details as the ones you want to change in stk files. You create one for the smallest shoal of the species and one for the largest shoal, as below :

Smallest perch ( perch1.txt in mergestk folder ).



FDEPTH 50 -20 130 2


Largest perch ( perch2.txt in mergestk folder ).



FDEPTH 100 80 110 5


As can be seen above, the smallest shoal ( 20 - 128 drams ) ideally feeds at 50%, and the largest shoal ( 1400 - 1530 drams ) feeds at 100%. With these two files, you can now get mergestk to generate as many stk files as you like by running the mergestk.exe program and filling in the following details when prompted ( entered values shown in yellow ):

First File : Perch1.txt

Second file : Perch2.txt

File start : perch

Steps : 10

This will now create 10 perch stk files for you ( perch1.stk, perch2.stk, perch3.stk ... perch10.stk. Perch1.stk will be identical to perch1.txt you entered, and perch10.stk will be identical to perch2.txt, all the stk files in between that will be graduated between the two. EG Perch5.stk will look like:



FDEPTH 72 24 121 3


Notice how all the values in there ( apart from the REF ) line are somewhere roughly in the middle * of the two perch txt files Eg the ideal feeding depth for this stk file is now 72%

* It's not exactly in the middle in this case as 10 files have been created and there is no "middle" file, that would require a perch5.5.stk. Eg, the middle is somewhere in between the perch5.stk and perch6.stk values.

So there is an easy way to create stk files with graduating different values, there are more things that can be added though, besides the FDEPTH line, in fact anything that is in an stk file can be graduated, eg INSECT, WDEPTH, BITETIME etc.. The only rule is, that whatever line is specified in the first file will be included in the final stk, if the second file doesn't have the line, it will be regarded as static throughout, but you should always add the same line to both the start and end files just to be safe. You must always have a ref, minsize and maxsize line in both also.

The File start can be anything when prompted, all this is asking is for you to give the program something to call the created files, if i'd have typed in "mouse" here, i'd have ended up with mouse1.stk, mouse2.stk, mouse3.stk and so on.. this is still okay, but not very readable if ever you come to use the stk files again.

The Steps value you enter is how many stk files you want creating, in the case above it created 10 files, but you could specify any amount you want.

After your stk files are created you can move them from the mergestk folder to the venue folder, or whereever you want them, or alternatively a better solution what I prefer is to make a copy of the mergestk.exe file and put it in the folder where the stocks are for the venue you are creating, it will work like this okay, be careful not to distribute your original txt files or the mergestk program though in your JR2 for the venue.

Note : in previous versions of mergestk prior to the one distributed with 2.08, the only way of using the program is to run it from a DOS box, specifying the file1, file2, file start, and steps on the command line seperated by spaces.

Why use Mergestk
There are many reasons why mergestk helps, but the main one being that it gives you a fast way to create varied stocks, also the original txt files you create to create the stocks can be easily modified and mergestk executed again. This gives a fast way of changing all your stk files for a species in one go, if they aren't behaving as you'd like when testing them. The other way is to do it by hand, which is very time consuming.

Also, baitpops aside, without varying the behaviour of a species throughout its size range, you are leaving the anglers catches down to the number stocked and luck, not down to his or her tactics. For example, imagine that 10 perch stk files had been created above with the identical FDEPTH with an ideal value of 100 % and you'd got a .all file which contained the shoals as below :

500 perch1.stk
300 perch2.stk
100 perch3.stk
80 perch4.stk
50 perch5.stk
30 perch6.stk
10 perch7.stk
5 perch8.stk
2 perch9.stk
1 perch10.stk

The angler is ledgering, and it is assumed they are on the bottom ( FDEPTH 100% ), therefore there is as much chance of them getting a perch from the 1st shoal as there is one from the last shoal at that depth. The only factor determining whether they do or not is the stocking numbers, which is totally out of there control, leaving there fate, purely down to luck, eg hitting a bigger one in the list.

By varying the FDEPTH values in this case, the chances of getting a smaller perch are better when fishing higher in the water, and by fishing deeper, they improve the chances of getting a bigger perch over a smaller perch. This means that the USERS action has contributed to the catch, not YOURS, which is a lot better from a users point of view and also for things like matches, where different outcomes will result for different anglers, as they will all have used different tactics. Bear in mind, you can do this with TEMP, O2, WDEPTH etc, anything, which will make different areas of your pegs fish differently, assuming they have got good depth and features made for them.

Ideally, all stk files should have all the settings in them, as there is no way of knowing what the sp file for the species contains, unless you have created it.

(c) J.C.Spooner