Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
BainIhrno

Who still plays?

Recommended Posts

Well, I'm asking because I've been hoping to port (or have ported, and am hoping to fix it up and make it playable) the Blades of Exile scenario, "Of Good and Evil" by Alcritas to Blades of Avernum.

 

I just started tweaking with the ported version, and while it's nowhere near finished, I am actually very optimistic that this could work, even if some minor parts may have to be cut. Yes, it's a scenario with lots of complicated noding, but things are going better than expected so far. (I have the password to OG&E as Alcritas made them public years ago, so I can look into the scenario to see what's supposed to happen if there is any confusion).

 

The reason I've wanted to take on this project is (besides a personal challenge and wanting to say I contributed something to BoA) because I have been wanting to bring one of BoE's top scenarios to the Blades of Avernum engine. Alcritas was regarded as one of the best designers in the history of Blades of Exile, and although BoE is now free and open-source, there are still people who prefer BoA, and I would like to give those players a taste of one of BoE's best designers and bring at least one great BoE classic to BoA.

 

The question is, though, how many still play BoA today? The game is almost nine years old now. When BoE was at this age, it was spitting out its last scenarios and was dying out. I'm seeing something similar happening to BoA, with many of its more well-known designers gone and fewer scenarios being released. At this point, would anyone really care about a new scenario for BoA?

 

I will say, even if I do finish this project, it will likely be my final contribution to the Blades games and the Spiderweb community.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I would be interested to see the result.

 

It's kind of sad, but Blades is dead. Everyone is gone and there aren't any youngins to take up the mantle. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadly, I can't work up the motivation to work on anything. I would be interesting in playing this, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll play new scenarios, and I still play with the editor, but I haven't finished anything for far too long. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone. While I agree with Enraged Slith that the Blades communities are pretty much dead as there seem to be next to no scenarios coming out now for either engine, I'm still feeling that there may yet be an audience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still bring my copy of BoX out of mothballs every so often. If you write it, I'll give it a whirl, so your effort won't be wasted. Heck, I should probably even play the original; I downloaded it a while back along with several others, but have yet to play it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can help with the porting itself, I have done it before. Consequently I know all about pitfalls created by custom items and monsters...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the offer. If there's anything I can think of I need help with, you'll be the first to know. :)

 

EDIT: I don't seem to have access to the monster and items graphics databases, they are UNIX files....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still around, and always up for a new scenario.

 

What databases do you mean? I'm pretty clueless about BoE stuff, but I'm happy to try to convert file formats or something if I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The databases I'm referring to are the default BoA graphics. I can't seem to access which numbers pertain to which graphics -- I found a temporary solution by cross-referencing the "Default Creatures/Items" in Erik Westra's Cookbook and looking at the numbers in the Default Creature/Item Scripts. I would like an easier way of doing this, and I can't get into the graphics files provided with the game (I'm on OS X).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still play Blades of Avernum, sometimes it's just fun to go back and see the old stuff. Relive what you have forgotten and try new things.

 

Sometimes we believe that were over a game, but years later we can look back on it and get the urge to play that game again.

 

(I still think about pacman sometimes) :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for porting, if you don't like the way BoE objects (items, creatures and terrain types) are translated to BoA equivalents you can customize the translations. You only need to find where the translation arrays are found in your editor. Source code for your editor will tell you what the arrays look like, then you can find them in a hex editor.

Alternately, you may be able to compile the editor yourself, in which case you can make a special version for Of Good and Evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i feel like compiling a custom editor for the porting of one scenario is a bit, uh, overkill. it'd be nice for editors to just have that in an xml file or something.

 

of course, "turn this tile into this tile" really isn't feasible for going from boe to boa really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Porting is not always so easy but I liked it. I did River and Leaf then I had a go at Wormwood (Shadow Stranger).

One approach to the tiles is to use flat terrain, like Geneforge and Blades of Exile. That way you can use some of the BoA ports of Geneforge graphics. I attempted this with versions of Wormwood and River and Leaf.

XML files would be the way to go, maybe Tridash can incorporate them into the next version of his Editor. You could also customize the names given to the outdoor/town scripts, currently the script names are messy offcuts of the outdoor/town names.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be happy to beta test when you have something ready.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still hanging on to BoA, writing bits of scenarios I'd like to make, from time to time. I would play this if you finished it. I haven't played much of BoE, but I've heard that Alcritas made the best scenarios. Might even motivate me to do something with the scraps I've got for BoA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that I stopped playing Blades when I realized that most beginning scenarios were too ridiculously hard to make it past level 5. Most of the scenarios that were made I could play, but usually would never be able to make it to the finish. The only real scenarios I completed was a few of them made by jeff. I doubt this will be remade, but if it was, I'd be interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Number of objects altered:

Monsters: 117

Terrain: 41

Items: 81

Number not altered at all:

Monsters: 139

Terrain: 215

Items: 319

 

I have uploaded a new version of EXS Decrypts, for each altered object it shows data from Of Good and Evil compared with default data from Bladbase.

http://www.freewebs....EXSDecrypts.zip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have actually done the port myself. So far I've adjusted town/outdoors to utilize heights, fixing up dialogue, and creating custom items/creatures. Thanks for your help. Also thanks to Sylae for a scenario data dump. Of course, this project will be easier once a BoE scenario editor for 10.8.2 is coded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The game itself has been ported. The editor has not.

I have ascended to stupid level 2. Much apologies for not reading the OP in it's entirety :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In porting do you use the stock BoA graphics or you do use the BoA adaptations of the BoE graphics? Blazing Blades has done a lot of adapting here but a few remain to be done. The latter are more colorful than the stock Windows BoA graphics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't actually figured out how to do custom graphics in BoA, I'm going to wait until more progress on the actual scenario is made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not hard; similar to BoE you make a resource file with the images in it and set various definitions to refer to particular parts of the images. The main difference is that the graphics are split up into groups in multiple images rather than all put together into a single big image.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You also need artistic ability, like Luz at Blazing Blades and unlike me. If we knew how she did the conversions we could convert BoE images at will.

 

Word of Recall can't be finally replicated in the Blades of Avernum world. My solution here is that a spell takes you to a town, the proforma town 0, when you attempt to enter the town you are sent back to the starting town.

I wrote an article at The Lyceum about this,

http://thelyceum.yuku.com/topic/1905/Word-of-Recall-spell-v10#.UOwE3qzCo0k

But I can't find any spare town entrances. One slot seems spare but it is in the upper right corner of the final outdoor zone. For some reason it was not ported to the BoA world!?

What you could do is have a special ability teleport the party next to a town, party enters the town and then finds a placed event that leads them home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You also need artistic ability, like Luz at Blazing Blades and unlike me. If we knew how she did the conversions we could convert BoE images at will.

 

We do know how she did them. She painted them by hand, because Luz is awesomely talented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Official (Windows) 2D Spiderweb Editor had a few problems with porting and really needed a few improvements:

1. Eliminating the mix – up of x,y coordinates in town special encounters.

2. Enabling the translations of Exile items, monsters and terrain to be customized.

3. Having proper translation of Exile sounds and stats.

4. Using a translation table for change, swap and transform – terrain translations.

5. Reworking the creation of shops using the existing table.

6. A routine to detect “tweaking” of existing objects.

7. If a state in the town script is called when a creature dies, this information is apparently never ported.

8. Likewise, If there is a flag set when a creature dies this information is never ported.

9. Porting the Secret Passage node is a hassle.

 

I don't know about the Mac version.

This was presumably the same code used for porting in Isaac's 3D editor, but then the editor always crashed before porting happened...

 

1 was purely a Windows problem? It has been fixed.

2 can be done easily by hex editing.

3 this will need to be done manually, not all sounds can be translated properly.

4 this has been fixed in my version so it does not use BoE terrain type numbers.

5,6 need to be done manually

7,8 have been fixed

9 is tough even now. The call that handles the change of terrain/floor blocking has all sorts of fine print... Outdoors you may be able to use the out movement function.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I still play BoA, and I still try to tangle with the editor at times to make another scenario, but seeing more scenarios, even a ported one from what I assume to be a great BoE scenario, help motivate me to try to crank one out.

 

There are still a few youngins out there to warm up that mantle. :)

 

Oh yes, and I hope Of Good and Evil turns out well after the port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pleased to say that I'm nearing completion of the first stage. That means I still have a ways to go, but this is the most progress I've made on any work relating to Blades of Avernum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought BoA through the package at GOG just a few days ago, so I'm going to play through scenarios in the future for sure. =)

Though there seems to be less traffic and engagement here than earlier, there is definitely life here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still in this community. And as long as i am in this community. I will hate not to play any new scenarios or play with the editor. By the way, my first scenario is STILL not finished

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Zero Smasher, I'm a Malayali.

 

I play a lot less games right now, but when I do, BoA takes a reasonable portion of my playing time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hehe :D no, I'm just down south. Kerala-residents are known as Malayalis (language : Malayalam).

 

(see PM)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At some point I will be checking the contents of "void port_a_special_node(old_blades_special_node_type *node,short node_num,FILE *file_id,short node_type)" versus the contents of the node editing screens as displayed by the Scenario Editor.

Translating the nodes is still something of an art form, so if Bain Ihrno runs into trouble getting his scenario to work properly, the first port of call should be the nodes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For anyone interested --

 

I'm almost finished updating the town, outdoor, and dialogue scripts, and have a little more terrain work/height adjustments to do. This means that I'm getting close to a fully playable prototype. However, due to my limited knowledge of the BoA combat system and the potentiality for missed errors in such a large scenario, alpha-testing is going to take some time. In addition to picking up bugs, I may be spending quite a bit of time readjusting monsters/stats so that the combat, items, and spells are balanced.

 

In other words, I'm getting close to the point where I can alpha test it, but it's still going to be some time before I can call for beta testers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting power levels right for items, spells and monsters: latest Windows version has the ability to print out data arrays for these objects so you can compare them with their BoE counterparts. Data arrays for BoE are listed in the exs file and can be easily obtained by something like DataWorkshop-1.1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Conventional Windows 3D code is found at:

http://svn.hallsofchaos.net/3D_BoA_Editor_Win/trunk

(This is the pre-multiwindows code.)

You want Bl A Fileio.cpp, from line 1,218 through line 1,359. The code itself is pretty basic, it just prints out the arrays for BoA. It may or may not need adaption to a Mac format. (If you are not part of SVN, copy and paste the content of the file into a text editor and you will see where line 1,218 is.)

BoE arrays I can just upload at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stop press:

All BoE data arrays and the source code for the BoA data arrays is found at:

http://www.freewebs....EDataArrays.zip

BoA arrays will change as the BoA scenario is worked upon, they are not constant.

 

You will need to add this to Global.h:

 

void floor_type_data_dump();

void terrain_type_data_dump();

void creature_type_data_dump();

void item_data_dump();

 

Then you will need to alter the enabling/dimming of menu items so that the four data functions are only enabled when a scenario is loaded.

 

I am on Windows, if you need help with a new version of the Mac Editor, Niemand should be able to help.

 

Note: the data array printouts are meant to be used in a spreadsheet, that is why the columns are separated by tabs.

You may of course need to alter the code I supplied, I have not read the Mac version recently.

Edited by Ishad Nha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, those codes don't seem to be giving me enough information.

 

Anyway, good news! I'm almost ready to start alpha-testing the port, after a few more adjustments are made. Once I can get something that resembles balanced combat and treasure, I should be ready.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Unfortunately, those codes don't seem to be giving me enough information."

Anything else you need?

 

You might want to delete irrelevant columns or hide them, some of the columns are not that relevant like the Reserved# columns in the terrain array.

Arrays might be generally useful in scenario design, I don't know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×