Sunday, May 18, 2014

All good things must come to an end...

It was fun, it was long... but it's behind us now: the hardcoded logic of Rex Nebular is complete!
Now a far less fun part: polishing, and adding missing bits at engine level. And hopefully, get more testers than for the games we previously added! :)

If you want to help [md5], dreammaster and I: Grab your original, and start testing the game!

Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming weeks!

Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender DOS Getting in touch with your feminine side I see...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Misc progress...

Since my last post, Dreammaster and I achieved the following feats:
- Add support to Mortevielle DOS, without speech but with a unique English translation and an improved German translation. I thought that a student could work on adding a speech to text library during the Google Summer of Code, but my idea didn't attract any student, so I guess it'll stay like it is currently for the moment.

- Add support for Return to Ringworld. The game is currently in good shape. Eriktorbjorn and L0ngcat found a couple of glitches, several of which being engine bugs, and the card game still has a known broken case, but it's more or less complete. In short, we need more testers.

- Complete the Voyeur engine, which currently only supports the DOS version. I'd love to look deeper in the CDi version (and if I'm completely desperate at the MAC version) but I'm currently spending all my free time on the hardcoded logic of Rex Nebular. At this point we need testers for Voyeur, as only Dreammaster and I played through the game so far.

- Make fuliginous progress on MADS engine and more precisely on Rex Nebular. Without a doubt, I'll finish to reimplement the hardcoded logic of the first group of scenes within the next 24 hours. Based on what we currently see, it would mean that 15-20% of the game logic will be done at this point. Dreammaster on his side is using this hardcoded logic to fix the core engine, and it's working pretty well that way!

I keep my fingers crossed so that Dreammaster and I manage to keep the same pace for the next months, it would mean we would have something robust before the end of the year... It's exciting and addictive! :)

And of course, we need testers!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to another rotting game!

Last weekend, I managed to fix what I wanted to be done as soon as possible in Mortevielle:
- Fix the German verbs
- Reorder the English verbs, then fix them
- Fix a couple of glitches in the Action menu

As a result the game is now playable in French and German, as well as in English.
Raziel^ tested the game on AmigaOS, and he (almost) finished the game. He encountered an assert in the end of game sequence. I need to test it myself in order to determine if it's some BE issue, or if it's reproducible in the French version, etc. At least everything looks fine on a BE system so far, which is really good news. Raziel^ also came to the conclusion that the original German translation is terrible, and that we should let the user decide if he wants to play an "Original German" version, or a "Improved German translation" version. He is considering working on the translation himself, so there may be more news on this front soon.

My urge to fix things in Mortevielle is hiding something more exciting: After more than a year of sleep, Return to Ringworld is back to business, thanks for the commitment of Dreammaster who finally got enough time to work on the remaining issues in TsAGE Core engine those last 2 months. It seems it's now time for us to fix the gigantic hardcoded logic of the game... Fun fun fun :)

So, that's more proof that: that is not dead which can eternal lie! (Yet with strange aeons even death may die) ;)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sound in Mortevielle!

Quick follow-up of last post: the sounds are there!

Thanks to the help of some more experienced developers (including, but not limited to, clone2727, fuzzie and SylvainTV), I managed to implement the right amount of code so that the ambient SFX and the misc sounds are played, but not the speech. \o/

The console is still spitting warning messages about missing or unexpected things, so there's still some work on that topic, but it's already satisfying :)

Criezy started to polish the English translation. If you have some time, please don't hesitate to join the effort :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Progress on Mortevielle Engine

Sometimes, things are going well. It's rare, but it happens, really.
As proof, we now have Mortville Manor :)

Short after my last post, I received tremendous help from a dedicated user (Hugo L.) and from criezy who made together a first translation of Mortville Manor in English, on top of the DOS French version. After some more modifications in the code, the game is now completely playable in English. Criezy even has a local patch to fix the menu titles, which is currently a picture stored in the game data.

The last two months, based on that progress, we polished a bit the engine so it's merge-able in Master. The effective merge was done on July 29th 2013.

That was already something unexpected when I mentioned, some months ago, it was hopelessly rotting.

But that's not all! After some lucky guesses, we now have the German version properly decrypted, with only the verbs in the wrong order (will be fixed soon). There's even music properly played during the intro!

At this point, everything is possible of course. Some preliminary tests gave me perfect SFX sound played, which means that it's only missing the understanding of the sound start point & length to quickly get full-SFX support in the game... As our first tests show that the game is already working properly on BE systems, we could consider adding official support in a reasonably short delay. (ie: it still may be long, don't hold your breath)

I'll post again when the SFX sounds work in the whole game, stay tuned!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rotting engines

As you may know if you read dreammaster's blog, I'm currently giving a hand to dreammaster on Hopkins FBI, which is a gore adventure game. Thanks to the cartoon-ish look of the cutscenes, it's not too shocking though (at least for us)...

As you may imagine, this is an excellent excuse to avoid working on the engines "rotting" on my repository... Here is a little point concerning those.

- Adventures of Robin Hood:
The engine is more or less complete for the DOS version of the game. The game is scripted. Almost everything is scripted, even: the intro, the menus... Everything! So rewriting the game was pretty easy, as the engine was particularly small. It's currently possible to watch the intro, walk around, interact with objects and characters... and die, of course! The dragon is pretty efficient for that... Yes, there's a dragon in Robin Hood :).

There are some glitches and minor bugs left, but the really blocking part is the sound and music of the game. Peres kindly broke the compression/obfuscation used so I have now MID files, but some commands are still problematic, and SylvainTV and I were not (yet) able to hook something working. After sound support, a huge refactoring would be required before we may consider discussing about a merge. As I hate sound maybe even more than Dreammaster does, it may takes forever though :/

The Amiga and Atari ST versions of the games, sadly much more common than the DOS version, are booters and are currently not targeted by the engine.

- Mortville Manor:
We received the sources of the French DOS version of this game months ago, after some discussions with Lankhor right owners and DotEmu. They were in Pascal and Assembly code. After some a lot of work on it with Dreammaster, the game is now completable with almost no glitch left. Several things are blocking a merge discussion though: No sound support and only DOS French version supported.

The sound support is a nightmare. The only sound available in the original is generated speech based on phoneme synthesis. At the time, they were clever enough to add subtitles, so it was possible to understand something... But it didn't age really well, and what was extremely impressive in 1987 is now absolutely terrible, to the point that the game sounds much better without sound support!

The language support is of course the second problem. I created a partial English translation based on Atari and Amiga texts, but the dialogs are missing: in those versions, the speeches are not dubbed, and are not using phoneme analysis, so we have to translate it ourselves. Criezy started a translation, but it's a long and hard work, particularly considering he doesn't have much time for that. (Any help would be appreciated at this point!). A German DOS version also exists, but is currently not supported, and I haven't yet looked at the Amiga and Atari versions. All the other platforms are ignored on purpose, as the engine is too different (Amstrad CPC, Sinclair QL, C64, Apple 2E, ...)

So... If you want to give a hand on those engines.... Drop me a line! Translation doesn't require technical skills, everybody can help!

Monday, June 4, 2012


After having squatted DrMcCoy's blog for a while, and after being asked multiple times by some ScummVM developers to have my own, I finally decided to create this insignificant blog. Here I'll try to explain from time to time what I'm working on.

I have no specific objective, and most likely I'll only mention things related to ScummVM and reverse engineering. So... You have been warned

Clone2727, before you ask.... No videos! :P