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How do people feel about an Unofficial BoA Patch?


Sokhbep
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So it has long irked me... the fact that BoA appears so scuffed in some areas. I would be referring to these wonderful posts:

https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/4480-list-of-bugs/

https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/4040-boa-bugs-v60/

 

Why do I want to do this:

Most notably, the part where it mentions that Augmented Giants (who just so happen to be one of the most common Arcane Summons, thereby being very effective at ruining immersion) have an error which renders them looking like a pair of giant sentient legs with no upper body to visualise, and oodles of other graphical and technical bugs which could be fixed by simply editing a text file. I wish to take on the responsibility of fixing some of these issues mentioned in these posts to the best of my abilities, mostly for personal purposes (like repairing the Augmented Giant sprite). I was wondering if it would be okay if I distributed an unofficial 'patch' of sorts to the Data folder in a compressed zip file which addressed most of the other bugs and issues present in the retail version of the game for people to adopt into their own copies of the game.

 

What would I do:

Mainly compiling every known bug (outside of editor and game executable stuff) from the two aforementioned posts and applying fixes to many of the bugs pointed out, wherever necessary to create a set of patch files which could easily replace the vanilla files. I would imagine that it would not really bring any changes to custom scenarios whatsoever since corescendata stuff gets overwritten by new instances of objects if the ID's do happen to match.

 

Of course I wouldn't be able to make changes to the editor or the game executable itself, but it would be very easy to change the visual bugs such as PC sprites for some reason on horseback having their armors stripped on the NE and SW facing sprites but keeping their armors on the NW and SE facing sprites. For example, here a reasonable compromise would be to make all the directions have armor variants of the PC graphics because I find it to be the case 99% of the time that players would like to have their armors worn at all times.

 

Along with it I would also like to bring some more minor changes such as making 'Bronze' Plate Mail have a colour that actually resembles bronze instead of looking like a blue mithril-ey colour, same going for a Wooden Small Shield not looking like it's made out of stainless steel.

 

Fq4RGcYm.jpg

(The above is just a rough example of how the changes would look like)

 

The item colour changes would all be done solely using 'it_icon_adjust' so no graphics would need to be replaced.

 

Why I made this post:

In short, I just wanted to know if people approve of this kind of stuff being publicly uploaded for free use, or is it something I should keep to myself.

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On 11/5/2021 at 4:01 AM, Sokhbep said:

 

Could I use that to append my patch? What I would want to do is merge it with my edits.

Not totally sure what you have in mind. The Custom Objects Script Base is a starting point for creating scenario custom object scripts, which isn't what you described wanting to do.

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Yes, but I was thinking that if I could include this script base in corescendata from the get-go, and then perhaps people who apply the entire patch on their BoA game, they would be able to create scenarios using the objects defined within it, without having to look for this file and take from it separately into their custom made scenario. If I do this, I could get stuff like Aranea Fangs to drop from Elder Araneas instead of Pots, for example. But then again I could just change the Elder Aranea creature definition to not drop anything at all, which would save on space for the limited amount of creature/item/terrain definitions for each scenario.

 

In my mind, the goal is that I would be able to provide a patch for the whole community with fixes and extra miscellaneous additions (which is unreasonable in hoping that everybody is going to download the files provided by me and patch their games) but if not the new additions, I would at least want to import the stuff under //FIX OLD TERRAINS, ITEMS, CREATURES and whatnot, assuming that those are fixes for the objects defined in the default, unpatched, retail corescendata.txt

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've made some progress and work is going at a steady pace now, mainly altering and fixing stuff in all of the Graphics folders first, and then moving over to editing the core scripts for errors and miscellaneous changes.

 

Screenshot of changelog-in-progress (Big Image)

Spoiler

3XzGUtL.png

 

I had one question. What could I do to possibly cycle through the variations for each number of it_icon_adjust in real time? I really thought I could use that Appearance changer in Geneforge to hack my way into checking out each colour but it seems like the entire Geneforge series uses a completely different icon adjustment setup than that of Avernum, so whatever colour I pick out in Geneforge will almost always be totally different in BoA.

 

I was thinking of emulating Mac OSX Snow Leopard on my Windows 10 to run the Graphic Adjuster, but I'm not sure if that application allows for changing icon adjust colours in real time and being able to scroll through colours and shades without opening and closing the game over and over.

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20 hours ago, Sokhbep said:

I was thinking of emulating Mac OSX Snow Leopard on my Windows 10 to run the Graphic Adjuster, but I'm not sure if that application allows for changing icon adjust colours in real time and being able to scroll through colours and shades without opening and closing the game over and over.

It does.

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On 5/27/2008 at 9:13 AM, Niemand said:

I've uploaded a new version of Graphic Adjuster which runs under Mac OS 10.3.9 through 10.5.2. It also functions on Intel systems, although it requires Rosetta emulation. As usual, it can be found on my utilities page, and if anyone encounters problems, please let me know.

 

A technical detail: although the output should be nearly identical, I was forced to extend the original adjustment algorithms from 16 bit color to 32 bit, so there may be subtle changes. If anyone can find measurable differences from previous versions or the game itself, please inform me.

So did he later release a version of the Graphic Adjuster application that did work on newer versions of Mac? I still remain a bit skeptical since they are quite large files to obtain for emulation. If the application ultimately failed to run then it would be a complete waste of time.

 

Let me use this post to make another update in the meantime. I will also be including a modified .exe file of the game, edited with nothing but Resource Hacker to add a small change: The pointing hand icon in the Get Item dialog box is changed to a right-handed cursor instead of being left-handed. Since all the other cursors in the game are right-handed, it doesn't make much sense to keep just one cursor left-handed.

 

Screenshots:

Spoiler

vAj4clc.png

 

RBRqgXU.png

 

I also took the time to add a revamped icon for the new file. Of course as always I will be providing a virus scan as a proof of no foul play going on.

Edited by Sokhbep
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I'm down for giving it a try on 10.14. Would be very helpful if it does indeed end up working, because I want to experiment with recolouring a few enemies to differentiate them.

 

For example, I've always been irked by the fact that soldiers and archers have the same colour scheming, but brigands are magenta and brigand archers have the normal archer colours. If they were magenta like brigands too then they would be easier to distinguish in an indoors environment. I would do the same for the rogue archer enemy and turn him dark green like the rogue mages are coloured.

 

Anybody have any more suggestions?

 

-

 

Also, I wonder, through hex editing, if it may be possible to perhaps change it so that PCs change their graphic based on whether or not they have a shield equipped, like Nethergate. The reason why should be very clear in the fact that about 99.9999% of the time players would scramble and put on anything they find, like even a shirt, to get any sort of protection possible, which results in the armor-less PC graphics almost never displayed.

 

Shields, on the other hand are more prominently equipped or unequipped based on whether the PC is using a one-handed or a two-handed weapon. We could then have graphics of PCs holding and attacking with a spear along with a shield. I frankly find it kind of a dumb decision on Spidweb's side to have picked on-off graphics for something that is literally worn as the first thing imaginable by someone - body armor.

 

The sheets would then be modified to look something akin to this:

yK9j5ko.png

Edited by Sokhbep
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On 11/22/2021 at 1:41 AM, Sokhbep said:

Also, I wonder, through hex editing, if it may be possible to perhaps change it so that PCs change their graphic based on whether or not they have a shield equipped, like Nethergate. The reason why should be very clear in the fact that about 99.9999% of the time players would scramble and put on anything they find, like even a shirt, to get any sort of protection possible, which results in the armor-less PC graphics almost never displayed.

 

Shields, on the other hand are more prominently equipped or unequipped based on whether the PC is using a one-handed or a two-handed weapon. We could then have graphics of PCs holding and attacking with a spear along with a shield. I frankly find it kind of a dumb decision on Spidweb's side to have picked on-off graphics for something that is literally worn as the first thing imaginable by someone - body armor.

 

The sheets would then be modified to look something akin to this:

yK9j5ko.png

I have no knowledge of the binary so I can't say with any certainty, but I highly doubt this is something you could do with just a little hex editing. I mean, yes, theoretically you could definitely do it with hex editing, if you want to deal with writing machine code by hand, but it's going to be quite a challenge.

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I am assuming it could range from something as simple as just changing a piece of hex number so that it redirects the graphic change from checking the armor slot to checking the shield slot instead, or something very challenging like altering entire strings of code at once.

 

Perhaps the slot number is somehow linked with the "variety" variable in items? Variety 13 seems to be the slot for body clothing, so maybe I can look for the number '13' somewhere in the binary and get extremely lucky.

 

As an update on the progress of the patch, I have finished making outdoor graphics for every PC character which has unarmored outdoor graphics displayed even while wearing armor. All I need to do now is get the Graphic Adjuster up and running, then make a few changes before uploading the necessary files.

Edited by Sokhbep
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I've started making recolours without the Graphic Adjuster. Turns out I don't need it at all. In order to display changes in colours, I can simply re-load a save file over and over while making the changes in the script using a text editor.

 

Screenshots:

Spoiler

5g3fsV9.png  Lineup of 'Guard' graphic enemies (from Left to Right) : Guard, Soldier, Brigand, Thug, Asssassin

 

 

Nx7NH9u.png   Lineup of 'Leather Armor' graphics (from Left to Right) : Cursed, Poor, Default, Fine, Drakeskin, Rogue's

 

These recolours will be available in a separate script file packed within the patch archive. The user will have complete choice over whether to use these or not, so I'm not shoving these down anybody's throats that way.

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I seem to be forgetting, but weren't Augmented Giants coloured green in Avernum 3? I'd appreciate if somebody could help me out with this info.

 

Meanwhile, I spotted another oversight by the devs. It seems like items that give armor on the bracelet slot don't actually show the protection value of the item as the text "Blocks X-X dam." when hovered over with the cursor. It's only when their full info is brought up by pressing the ? button do they show their protection value. This is apparent in the 'Bracer' line of items.

 

Screenshots:

Spoiler

v3uqXtM.png

 

 

 LIPIS0A.png

 

One more question, are there any official descriptions of how the artifact weapons like Ghoulbane, Demonslayer, Giantslayer etc actually look like, or what colour they have?

Edited by Sokhbep
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Looks like I have another query: Is Item 345 "Icy Longsword" supposed to do extra acid damage, or is that another gaffe? I need help understanding whether the weapon should be called "Acidic Longsword" instead and retain its acid damage, or should the wrong bonus damage type instead be corrected from acid to cold?

 

Found out that "Ring of Speed" and "Nimble Band" have the exact same abilities. I think I'm going to change "Nimble Band" to increase Tool Use instead of giving one extra action point, otherwise one of these items is completely redundant. Probably rename it to "Locksmith's Band" instead.

Edited by Sokhbep
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7 hours ago, Sokhbep said:

I need help understanding whether the weapon should be called "Acidic Longsword" instead and retain its acid damage, or should the wrong bonus damage type instead be corrected from acid to cold?

Presumably the latter.

7 hours ago, Sokhbep said:

Found out that "Ring of Speed" and "Nimble Band" have the exact same abilities. I think I'm going to change "Nimble Band" to increase Tool Use instead of giving one extra action point, otherwise one of these items is completely redundant. Probably rename it to "Locksmith's Band" instead.

As a change for a scenario, that would be fine. As a change to corescendata, that seems problematic because scenarios give out that item assuming that they know what it is, and you'd be changing game balance in unexpected ways.

 

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Alright, I thought so. I changed the extra damage type from acid to cold presumptively.

 

2 hours ago, Kelandon said:

As a change for a scenario, that would be fine. As a change to corescendata, that seems problematic because scenarios give out that item assuming that they know what it is, and you'd be changing game balance in unexpected ways.

 

This caution got me thinking... Ring of Speed's monetary value is 3000 coins, and Nimble Band's is 1400 coins. Is it possible that Ring of Speed was supposed to provide a 2 AP bonus instead of 1? It sounds plausible that it could've just been an upgraded version of Nimble Band and somehow the ability strength got mistyped as 1 instead of 2.

 

Speaking of which, Wyrmsbane. Now that's a weapon I feel is extremely gaffed. Not only does it, being an artifact, inherit from a very weak weapon (Bronze Longsword), it also sells for only 40 gold. The weapon does about 1-5 damage, the same as a Bronze Longsword but instead looks more like a 'Ghoulbane' counterpart: An artifact spear that inherits from a strong base (Blessed Spear), has twice its value and does the exact same effect (+25 damage to Reptiles) but instead of Reptiles, to Undead creatures.

 

The name and effect is a clear as day ring with Ghoulbane. So I'm therefore 99% sure that Wyrmsbane was supposed to be a lot more stronger than what it actually is. The question is... should I change it to be stronger?

 

My reasoning being, if it isn't buffed, this weapon is a complete piece of trash to have around in your pack. There is absolutely no reason remaining to use it. The damage output is very low, and by the time you get your hands on a Wyrmsbane yourself, you're definitely going to have access to at least a Steel Longsword, and that would heavily outperform the artifact weapon, in killing lizards or otherwise, because with the damage range so low, that extra bonus doesn't mean anything when the Steel Longsword can probably do 30 more damage at best to everything and not just reptiles.

Edited by Sokhbep
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