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Modded Legacy Blades of Exile, for Windows 10

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Hello! I have been modifying the legacy Windows version of Blades of Exile, with much help from forum member Motardo. The application, and simple instructions to make it run natively on Windows 10, are found here: http://www.BladesOfExile.com/


That website and the applications hosted there need a good amount of work, including properly crediting contributors; this will be done when I am finished with the next release. But they run on Windows 10 without the need for virtual machines or hardware emulation. The only common issue is that your computer may become sluggish while the apps are loading, running, and quitting.


Motardo has been developing and applying patches to fix bugs and make small improvements - the difficult part of the work - while I have mostly been altering text to improve usability, and a few other things.


I don't want Blades of Exile to vanish into obscurity. There are open-source projects, such as http://www.OpenBoE.com/ , but development is often sluggish with those projects. 14 years of Free Open Source Software-ness without a fully-functional release available from any project. With the BladesOfExile.com project, BoE adventures can be played and designed now, in full glory. (Full disclosure: The original, legacy BoE and Exile Trilogy software run just as well with the method described on BladesOfExile.com although this project fixes bugs and provides simple use instructions while the original software does not, as I said.)


(Consider "BladesOfExile.com" with the ".com" to be the name of the project, like the old office software OpenOffice.org used to do. I bought the domain name to prevent it from becoming a God Of War fansite. Mods, I would appreciate if this thread could be pinned to this subforum. Thanks.)


Have fun! -ADoS

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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Thank you very-very much for keepin' it alive and kicking!


BTW, on the other topic which have been locked - When I asked for "updated scenario guide" I lazily reffered to a guide for custom scenarios - Like in which order should recommened scenerios(with them included) be played if you start playing custom scenarios from scratch.


I'll try "NewMarketCity" thingy you've uploaded there to tweak my current party :)

Also can your provide direct link to your "scenario archive" on BladesOfExile.com? Many thanks once again!



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Almighty Doer of Stuff,


Thank you for listening to the requests of the moderating team, and for taking some steps to indicate that your files are modified versions of the Spiderweb games. The effort you’ve made to improve on this point is appreciated.


However, dealing with modified versions of work by other creators is a tricky business, and it needs to be done properly. You’ve made some good first steps here, but you’re not there yet. There are a few more things you need to do to ensure that your work is properly above board.


I don’t mean to be draconian, but it’s important this is done properly, especially because you’re dealing with previous releases of Spiderweb games. We need to ensure that your releases are distributed appropriately, and in such a way that won’t cause problems or confusion for players further down the line. It will only help to improve players’ experiences in the long run, which I hope is what you want to achieve too!


Therefore, I need to ask you to make a few changes to your current distribution. Since your website is now live, you should make these changes as soon as you can to avoid players getting into problems. Please could you:


1. Rename the files in your distributions to make it clear that they are modified versions. For example, instead of naming your folder ‘BladesOfExile’, name it something like ‘BladesOfExileADOS’. Likewise, change the name of the application. Instead of ‘Blades.EXE’, use something like ‘BladesADOS.EXE’.


This is to make it clear just from glancing at the files that the package is a modified version. This is important to do, especially if people end up distributing the package beyond your control. You know how Exile had version numbers? It’s for the same reason! Think of the 'ADOS' part of the name – or whatever you choose to use – as a new version number!


2. Please include a document in each of your packages explaining exactly what you’ve changed. Mention absolutely every change you’ve made. If you’ve changed a graphic, say which one, and what you altered. If you’ve changed some tips, say which ones, and how you changed them. If you’ve changed a scenario, say what you altered. This is a little tedious, I’m afraid, but it’s really, really important. People need to know what changes you’ve made to a package, particularly if more work is done on it in the future, or if multiple different packages get released. If you want examples of how this is done, here’s a selection of the Version History from Exile III. You ned to be at least this detailed too:



* Game no longer permanently darkens 2nd monitor on 2 monitor systems.
* New feature - Holding down space when launching game removes opening fade. This makes game more stable, and can speed it up as well.
* New feature - Quite Slow setting in Preferences Window.
* Problem with getting trapped in Silverlocke's Island fixed.
* It is no longer possible to leave get yourself stuck in the basement of the Keep of Tinraya by leaving with your boat in the wrong place.
* Killing Erika no longer crashes the game.
* When you encountered the Doomguard in the Guarded Tunnel, and fled without killing it, you'd be stuck and unable to win. This has been corrected.
* The mayor of Lorelei no longer speaks gibberish when asked about 'mayor'.
* New graphic for the cave entrances.
* The game now correctly restores the original pixel depth when quit.
* Smoky crystals now combine properly.
* The quickfire in the Filth Factory will no longer sometimes leap through the trash walls, charring the party.


3. Please clearly indicate on the download page of your website that your files are modifications of the originals. I appreciate you’ve done this on your main page, but you need to do this on your downloads page too. This is to make sure the players know what they are getting into at the point of download. For example, instead of saying ‘Download Exile II: Crystal Souls here’, please say something like ‘Download my modified version of Exile II: Crystal Souls here’. It would be even better if you put in a paragraph on your download page briefly explaining what it is that you’ve modified.


4. As with point 2, please put a page on your website that clearly indicates every single change that you’ve made to each of the packages. This is to ensure that players can be fully informed before downloading your work. Ideally, you would link to this from your download page too.


I know that this might sound like irritating busywork, but these are really important changes that need to be made to ensure that you’re being as helpful to players as you can be. After all, I know you want to help players experience Exile – to do that well, you need to make sure that your packages aren’t confusing!


In any case, as I started out, thank you for taking the time to improve on your communication about your work. There’s a bit more to do, but you’re getting there! :)




DarkenVolk, the scenarios of Blades of Exile were released by a large number of designers, all of whom were working independently. There’s no intended order in which they should be played – they’re pretty much all independent adventures, barring a few small series. So as long as you have a party at the indicated level, you can just play whatever you want!


Likewise, what scenarios you should play are very much a matter of opinion. So far as I know, no-one has ever put together a recommended guide for which scenarios to go through for a new player.


If you’ve not played the three core scenarios, you should play those first. Otherwise, I suggest just looking through the scenario reviews, pick a scenario that reviews well and that sounds interesting to you, and just go for it! If I remember correctly, the first scenario I played was Requelle's Nightmare!

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Ess, if BoE is open source, aren't all releases modifications to some extent with no central distribtion or version control? Not to be overly critical, but you aren't sounding very supportive of the efforts to keep alive the vehicle (BoE) that allows hundreds of scenarios  to be played. All of that work by so many individuals is now available on Windows 10. Not many people will be designing new material with BoE, but it's great news that there is once again a way to revisit the past. What you are asking for would not augment my experience as a player at all. It's like demanding a CD player maker to detail all the changes they made with a new deck, when the only true functionality that matters is that it makes music from 1s and 0s.

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I think perhaps you’re misunderstanding the position here, Swimmin’ Salmon. The idea is not to control distribution. What we’re suggesting here is simply good practice for releasing software. This relates to a Spiderweb product, so it's something that’s important to get right.


The aim is to avoid player confusion. Currently, the package discussed in this thread is difficult to identify as a modified work. This is a real problem, since it could very easily get confused with the original release. If someone can’t identify whether they’re playing the original release, or an altered version, that can lead to all sorts of issues.


For example, imagine a situation in which ADoS changed the Thrown Missiles stat. That’s good in principle, but if the player doesn’t actually know this, that they might not even realise the change has been made. If they consulted any texts written about the original game – of which there are a lot – they’ll find a description of mechanics that is entirely different from what they’re actually experiencing.


There are further problems with Blades of Exile, since any program changes could potentially break some scenarios, or otherwise alter their behaviour. If the player doesn’t know they’re playing a modified version, then they won’t easily be able to figure out what’s gone wrong.


At best, that leads to confusion and frustration. At worst, that ends up with people stopping playing. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that that’s not what we want! :)


And let me be clear that I am, of course, supportive of all work to ensure that BoE can be played on modern systems. If you’ve been following my posts in the BoE subforum, I’ve no doubt you’ve seen that it’s a game I very much enjoy, have extensive experience in, and try to encourage others to play. As you’ll note I did at the end of my post there for DarkenVolk.


I know this stuff all sounds boring and tedious but, from experience, it’s really important. If we want to end up with good packages that encourage people to play BoE in the future, we need to do things like this!

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It's not boring and tedious, and I'm keeping a detailed changelog, including every piece of text I'm changing. Thank you for the clear instructions regardless, Ess-Eschas. Tomorrow is Saturday and I have no other plans or obligations, so I plan to finish updating the help texts and such today and get all the required documentation going by the end of the day, I hope.


I don't want to label it "ADoS". Do you think BladesOfExile.Com.ZIP is sufficient, like I suggested in the first post? If not I'll try to come up with something else, but I don't want to call it "BladesOfExileADoS" because as I said, most of the hard work is being done by Motardo and I would welcome other people's help if it's useful too. Not that I would accept any and all input, I'm kinda "managing" it in addition to rewriting the text, but I don't want to put my own name on it. Does that make sense?


None of the changes would affect legacy scenarios in a detrimental way. I'll show you the list of things I requested from Motardo, which will be documented if and when they are implemented:


1. Fix Thrown Missiles/Defense stats mixup in E1, E2, E3, and BoE. (Done)

2. Re-implement Bash/Pick keyboard shortcuts, 'b' and 'p', in BoE. (Done)
3. Disable password check in scenario editor. (Done)

4. Change keybind for cancelling any action to "Esc", not "m" to cancel Mage, "u" to cancel Use, etc. (Not done)
5. Fix Look using up all action points. (This happens in Exile 3, at least.) (Not done)
6. Fix shop glitch where custom item graphics display the graphics 5 rows up in the sheet. (Not done)
7. Fix last missile's item ability glitch, where the last missile in a stack uses the item ability of the next item in the inventory list. (Not done)
8. Increase maximum stats as far as they can go in the scenario editor, for items and monsters. (As in, Jeff imposed hard limits where a stat could otherwise potentially reach, say, 255.) (Not done)
9. Fix broken Add/Lose Sanctuary item ability. (Not done)
10. Change default window size to fit Main Menu GUI. (In-game GUI is smaller than Main Menu GUI so that'd be fine.) (Not done)
11. Make Acid Weapon item ability not also Lifesaver. (This is the only one I'm not sure of, but I don't think anyone was aware of this bug prior to 2007, to design a scenario around it.) (Not done)
12. Make Petrification Touch work. (Not done)
13. Correct the "feature" that opaquely adds days to timers on one OS but not the other (if that OS is Windows, I forget). (Not done)

14. Fix untextured vertical stripes in BoE game and editor backgrounds. (Not done)

15. Alter Bash/Pick dialog to show a lock instead of an adobe wall door, and alter its text to avoid using specifically the word "door". (Not done; I am working on the text part myself)

*. Do not fix Resurrection Balm. It may break existing scenarios which do not provide it, with designers knowing it originally wasn't needed.

* Motardo created a patch to disable Instant Help by default, but this is not implemented in BladesOfExile.Com (or whatever I end up calling it).

I've just renamed the applications BladesOfExile.Com.EXE, BladesOfExile.Com.CharacterEditor.EXE, and BladesOfExile.Com.ScenarioEditor.EXE . I was concerned they wouldn't run properly, but they seem to. I don't think I can rename other game files without breaking the game.

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You should do more to differentiate your version from others if all you do is add v and a number. It makes it easier for players to tell which version they are using without having to read through the change information.


I was looking over my back up hard drive and saw I had 4 different versions of the Mac version since the original on a CD-ROM. 

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There's a copyright/version note on the Main Menu, which I've been editing. I don't think it's 100% clear enough at present but it will be. Also I made an attempt already but the ZIP file will be named more clearly. If it's not obvious though, the version number is yyyymmdd. I'll make the next ZIP file called BladesOfExile.Com.v(whatever the date is).ZIP


Do I need to label the EXE itself with the version number, or is labeling the ZIP and altering the in-program Main Menu note and changelog sufficient? I don't want people to have to rename their menu shortcuts every time they update the program.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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Ess, your requests just seem over-reaching. BoE is open source, and the license for release mentions none of the things you cite. If the problem is that it is being promoted on official forums, then you need to be consistent and insist that all promoted releases (scenarios, etc) receive the same level of scrutiny. All the “problems” you mentioned just aren’t real. Plus, ADoS is right. Renaming the files could be problematic and literally all he needs to do is add “modified to work with Windows 10” to the splash screen and put his change log in the read me.txt. Everything else is micromanagey, and serves no use other than sapping enthusiasm.

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No, Ess is right, Salmon. GNU GPL and CC-BY-SA both require clear attribution, both so work is acknowledged and to ensure people aren't credited with changes they don't approve of. I don't need to rename the resource files like HELPPICS.BMP. The filenames BladesOfExile.Com.Game.EXE, BladesOfExile.Com.CharacterEditor.EXE, and BladesOfExile.Com.ScenarioEditor.EXE don't affect function, and I otherwise think putting the project name and version number in the name of the ZIP, in the changelog, and on the Main Menu should be sufficient.


EDIT: Although regarding Ess's Thrown Missiles example, nobody knew why Thrown Missiles sucked until we looked at the code. The worst that would happen is the player would disregard Thrown Missiles. Nothing ever relied on the stat mixup because nobody knew about it.


Also, the former copyright note on the Main Menu does say it's modded, but it could be clearer, certainly.


This morning I finally finished rewriting the Outdoor Commands dialog, which was keeping me stuck for a while. This is going to progress a bit better now.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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These are all great improvements to your distribution method, Almighty Doer of Stuff. Thank you for taking the time to plan them out, and for your work in starting to implement them.


Your suggested name is absolutely fine! I mentioned ‘ADoS’ as one possible example only, just to indicate the sort of style I was talking about. The names you’ve suggested here would be just as good, and actually have the advantage that they acknowledge that this package is the work of more than one person.


I know it’s a little bit a faff, but I do think it’s a good idea to also include the version number in the name of the .exe. If you think about Spiderweb’s releases, this is what they do, too – both the compressed file, folder and application have the version number attached to them. So, for instance, the file name for version 1.0.3 of Exile II is ‘Exile II – Crystal Souls v1.0.3’, at least on my system.


While this could provide a small amount of work for players on any new releases you make, if they need to alter shortcuts or aliases, the benefits do outweigh the slight inconvenience. The advantage is that players will always know which version they’re playing. I’m also assuming that you’re only going to release changes every so often, much like with Spiderweb’s releases. In that case, people only need to change their aliases every now and again. At the end of the day, that’s not a huge ask, and it comes with significant benefits.


For example, imagine this. A user has two different versions of your package on their system, both of which have the same name. They come back to the game after a break, and find they have a useful alias for that particular game – but only for one of the packages. If the primary game file has the same name in both packages, how do they know which package they’re playing? Are they playing the most recent one, or an old one by mistake? Sure, you might have indicated this in the main menu of the program, but the user might not have noticed that. It’s much easier to get around this problem if the file names are all clearly labelled!


Here’s an anecdote from my own experience. I recently came across one of my own packages in a big collected archive, a package unrelated to Spiderweb that I’d released in 2006. At some point, someone had taken my package, removed all the files, put them in a new folder with a new name, and compressed them in a new file, again with a new name. Had I not carefully indicated the version inside the package itself, it would have been entirely unclear what version of this package was on the archive!


In other words, one reason you should actively put version numbers on the files themselves is that you don’t have complete control over your distribution. Once your work is out there, all sorts of people might end up packaging and linking to it – and that’s something that’s worth preparing for!


In any case, the improvements you’re talking about in thread are exactly the sorts of things you should be doing, and you should be commended for them. Be sure to implement them when you can!


Thank you also for your understanding. I wrote a little reply to Swimmin’ Salmon just while you were posting your recent comment, which I’ll attach below just so everyone’s on the same page. But it’s much appreciated that you’re on board with these changes – they will help to produce a much better environment for BoE players in the long term, I think!




As I said before, Swimmin’ Salmon, this is not a matter of control of distribution. What is being discussed in this thread is how to clearly indicate modified versions of previous releases, especially when there are multiple versions of that release already in circulation.


I suspect you might have slightly missed what is being done with this package. So, let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening here. That way, we can have a good, informed discussion about the full implications, should you wish.


The ability to play the Exile series on Windows 10 is not new. This is done through an external program, which was mentioned on the forums almost a year ago. If you’d like to read about that, do please take a look at this link:




What the Almighty Doer of Stuff is doing here is providing a central point where he explains how to obtain and use this external program, along with hosting versions of the Exile Trilogy.


The point at issue here is that the versions of the program he is hosting are not the versions hosted by Spiderweb. These versions have been changed by him and other people. These versions fix a bug or two, change graphics, adjust program text, change the help, and so on. It’s great that someone is taking the time to try and improve these programs, but it’s really, really important to distinguish them from other releases.


This is to make sure that everyone always knows which version they are playing. If there are alterations to the gameplay, even small ones, that could cause complications if people are playing the altered versions, but aren’t aware of it. This could lead to confusion and upset players. That’s not a good thing.


One of the main differences between this and your analogy is that the Almighty Doer of Stuff is altering an application that is not his own. This isn’t a scenario which he’s put together, but a package that’s altering a Spiderweb game itself. Further, it’s a game that has multiple different releases in various guises – the original releases, various updates for certain operating systems, various different open source projects. And all of these have been released by different groups of people. It’s really important that we can distinguish all of these – as Randomizer shows well in his comment. The implications are slightly different compared to, say, versions 1.3 and 1.5 of an Alcritas scenario.


So please, rest assured that all these measures are important. Yes, they’re detailed and not the most fun thing in the world to implement. But they’re necessary, particularly if we want to have happy players playing BoE further down the line. I think that’s what we all want! :)

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Part of the goal of this project is to make BoE as simple to use as possible. I don't want to put the version number in the filename. I think a change to the Main Menu along with a note in _Read_Me.TXT that says "Unless this package was altered irresponsibly, this copy is version BladesOfExile.Com.yyyymmdd.x. See the ZIP filename and Main Menus of each application." should be overkill. I also have a policy for readmes that they must be brief and just the essential information, so it will be seen there too.


EDIT: I think even better, just below _Read_Me.TXT in the file list could be _Version_BladesOfExile.Com.yyyymmdd.x.TXT, containing that note. That way it'll be super visible. I can't control when other people screw with the files. For all I know they could insert a Trojan Horse and credit it to me or even Jeff Vogel. Buyer Beware at some point, especially when you Buy it for nothing.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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Ess, Maybe I was off with “over-reaching”. It was more condescending than anything else. You seem to have a low opinion of the folks who might be using BoE. Everyone knows it’s open source, and will natively look, if they care, to the readme for mod info. That is how things are done. Many of your suggestions mandates do nothing to improve the distribution as anything (as you pointed out) can happen once it hits the internet. When I play a SW game, I click the start menu link which only tells me “Avernum 2”. That is a shortcut, and I never ever ever see the file name. The splash shows the version number. It’d be helpful to listen to critiques such as mine, rather than to just dismiss them as uninformed or irrelevant. There are elegant ways to achieve results.

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Thank you again for being reasonable about this, Almighty Doer of Stuff!


You’ve clearly put some thought into trying to make this both clear and accessible, and that’s great. I do like your idea of including a text file with the version number in the name, which contains the version information. That provides a good way to keep the version number visible within the package, without directly adding it to the name of the application. That seems like a good compromise to me!


As for you, Swimmin’ Salmon, I’m not sure what I can say to you. I have been doing my best to understand your position, and to explain why I think the various measures in this thread are useful ways to help players of the Exile games moving forwards. Far from dismissing your arguments, I have spent quite some time responding to you, multiple times, trying to explain in various different ways the importance of careful version control, and why I felt your various arguments didn’t apply in this particular circumstance.


Unfortunately, you don’t seem much inclined to engage with me in discussion here. At least from my position, your responses seem to verge away from helpful criticism into the realm of personal attack. And when argument degrades into a shouting match about how horrible the other side is, nothing ever gets resolved. I’m hoping you can at least agree with me on that point! :)


So, let me be clear here, as I’ve been trying to do throughout this discussion. I would be more than willing to talk through these ideas with you, and I would be most interested to hear what you have to say. I’m not particularly sure why you've got the impression that my careful responses to you are somehow dismissive, or not listening to your arguments, and that’s no doubt a failing on my end. So I’m sorry you’ve gotten a negative impression. I’ve only been trying to help! After all, we are on the same side here. We both want the Exile Trilogy and BoE to be played by old and new players well into the future, in the best way we can make it happen!


Besides, even though the Exile Trilogy and BoE have been freely available for some time, this sort of distribution method is still relatively new. This is new territory, and I’m sure there are all sorts of different opinions about the best way to move forwards. In a community project like this, I think it’s important to come to some sort of consensus!


For example, if I were to respond to your comments in your most recent post, I would express some concern that you’re making various assumptions about what players will and will not do. You may know that Blades of Exile is open source, and you may check documentation, but you don’t know how a general player will behave in the same situation. In my experience, it’s hard to predict what a general user will or will not do. Again, in my experience, it’s best to be as clear as possible about things such as version numbers, in an attempt to make as few assumptions as possible about your users. That’s not an attempt to say that users are stupid, or ignorant. It’s just a way of trying to make things as clear and as helpful as possible for them. I would be most happy to continue discussing points like these with you, if you're willing to do so in a constructive way.


However, I’m a little worried that you’re not looking for constructive discussion here, but are rather trying to attack me directly. If that’s the case, I’m not sure it would be particualrly positive to talk to you any further on this matter. Doing so would only stir up dissent, which rarely ends well. Since I wish you no will ill, I do hope you understand on this point.

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I made good progress, but I'm not done yet and I'm tired. Tomorrow I'll probably finish it. I hope.


EDIT: Ha ha ha, just kidding. I got hungry and went to the Blades of Exile Delay-catessen. I don't know why I ever give time estimates, I don't even percieve the passage of time at all. It'll be done soonish. Yesterday instead of hex-editing, I spent hours improving the documentation of my text changes, thinking it would take a few minutes. Nope.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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For those wondering about why I'm not updating credits and such, I have been working on converting my crude notes to proper changelogs. It's just taking a long time. I presume this thread won't be pinned to the top of the forum until the requested changes are made to the website, though, and I guess that's OK. I'm working as fast as I can, which turns out to be not remotely as fast as I predicted...

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Just to be clear, we don't automatically pin everything, for a lot of reasons, including just space and not overwhelming new visitors.  Once you've made the necessary changes the mods can definitely take a look it (and probably would whether or not you asked).  Sometimes this kind of stuff gets pinned, sometimes it gets linked directly in the forum header, sometimes neither.

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Oh yeah, I forgot about the forum header. Thanks for considering it anyway. I'll try to keep working as fast as I can.


EDIT: One good thing about working too slowly is I can go back over my help summary dialog rewrites and improve their style after sleeping  on it a few times...

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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  • 2 months later...

Progress is very slow due to life events causing low mental energy. But I am still working on updating the text. I've reached the second version of alchemy potion descriptions, about 3/4 of the way down the program in my hex editor. Once the text is adequate, I'll add a small informational library to New Market City and make a few other minor changes (including renaming it Grand Market City so it's clearly, obviously differentiated from the original). Then I have to verify my changelogs, credits, and other documents, update the copyright notices in the three applications with the hex editor, and update the website. That sounds like a lot more work than it is, but the real issue is me maintaining focus.


Motardo provided me with a patch to remove the Scenario Editor password requirement, but otherwise this next release will feature very few changes to the two editors. I'm focusing more on getting the game itself less buggy and easier to learn.

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  • 2 years later...

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