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Messages - lance.ewing

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AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: March 22, 2017, 05:56:58 PM »
AGILE it is then.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 18, 2017, 07:25:55 PM »
I also learned a lot about commands, and how the interpreter handles data passed to them which would be really useful for game developers to know and included that in the WinAGI Help file). I may try to upload what I've learned to the Wiki, but only if moderators are cool with it.

I'm going to quote the above again because I've just realised having looked a bit over your WinAGI help file that it already had most of the Saved Game format defined in it. I think we really do need to update the various AGI specs web sites with what you've learnt and have included in your Help file. People will probably look at the web sites first and won't realise that you have more up to date information in WinAGI.

Regarding a beta 1.2.1 build, yes please, whenever its ready.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: March 18, 2017, 06:04:41 AM »
I've been thinking that I should probably call this new C# AGI interpreter something different than MEKA. Originally the idea started out as being a conversion of my old C interpreter code to C#, but that's not really how it panned out. I've ended up building it from scratch pretty much but using about four different sources for the information. I did, however, call the project MEKA within the repo. So I'm now considering changing that to something else. The original M.E.K.A, although built solely by me, used the initials of the surnames of Joakim Möller, Peter Kelly, and myself. I did that as an acknowledgement to their contribution back in the early days when it was pretty much just the three of us that split up the work of building tools and creating the AGI specs, etc. It doesn't seem appropriate for the new interpreter though. So open to some ideas about what to call it.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 18, 2017, 05:25:13 AM »
I started drawing the first picture yesterday evening. This is as much a note to myself with regards to my Java PICEDIT tool as it is to you and WinAGI, the note being that it would be nice if there were a way of manipulating the background picture. I kept having to go back to a normal drawing tool to resize and crop the background image and then load it back in to the AGI picture editor. I was thinking that if there were a way to zoom the background picture in and out, and also to drag it around to place it exactly where you want to trace it, then I probably wouldn't have needed to use the external tool to get the background image just right. As I say, my tool doesn't provide that either, but its something I thought would be useful.

Oh, and another thing worth noting, I wasn't able to use both the Ego test tool and the background image tool at the same time. This meant that my visual measurements on whether the furniture in the room has the right size for Ego wasn't something I could do against the background image, i.e. I couldn't walk Ego around the background image to see how he measured up against things. I wanted to try that out before beginning to trace.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 17, 2017, 05:44:37 PM »
I'm not sure what you mean by 'linking to middle of room'? Can you elaborate? If the room was not in the list, then the layout editor thought it was being drawn- that's not good. If you are able to duplicate it, the exact steps taken would be helpful.

Yeah, sure thing. I've been able to reproduce it on the first attempt with a brand new game. This is what I did:

1. Opened the room layout tool immediately after creating the new game from the template.
2. Placed six new room boxes named Logic 2 to 7, arranging them in a 3 x 2 arrangement.
3. Linked them using bidirection links.
4. Closed the Layout tool
5. Right clicked on "Logic 3" and selected Remove from game.
6. Opened up the Layout tool again. At this point I saw the unattached links with the red triangle pointing towards where the Logic 3 box had previously been.
7. Right clicked on each of these unattached "error" links and deleted them.
8. Added a new Room box again and chose "Logic 3" and the same logic number as the one I had removed from the game.
9. Attempted to create a bidirectional link from one of the other rooms to the new "Logic 3" box. This is where I end up with the unidirectional arrow pointing to the middle of the new room box (see attached image below).
10. I then right clicked on that blue arrow and chose to delete it.  Both the "Logic 3" room box and the blue arrow disappeared but the "Logic 3" logic is still showing in the resource list.
11. I then closed the Layout tool and reopened it. "Logic 3" room is still missing (see second image attached below).
12. I then select Repair Layout and the "Logic 3" room reappears. This time I'm able to recreate the bidirectional arrows from "Logic 2" and "Logic 5" without any issues.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 17, 2017, 05:20:01 PM »
The LogicID can be changed by selecting it in the Resource list, then choosing Description command on Resource menu. You can also change by double-clicking directly on the property box (below the resource list).  These changes are dynamically linked to the Layout editor so you will see changes made immediately. You can also select the Description command when you are editing a resource. But I can see that it would be intuitive to be able to change ID from within Layout editor- that's easy to add.

I can see now why I failed to find that Description option. It appears that it is ignored when the Layout tool is currently open. To me it seemed intuitive that I should be able to change the Room ID within the property list, and I did try that, but that wasn't allowing me to edit it, and the ... button wasn't doing anything, so I assumed it was read only. I've noticed now that that property ... button does open up the Description dialog but only when the Layout tool is closed. I think if all three options (from the Resource menu, within the property table, and also directly within the Room Box) were available while the Layout tool is open, then that would make it easier.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 16, 2017, 03:59:56 PM »
I just discovered the Repair Layout option. That has reintroduced the missing room but has also added in a whole lot of extra unattached links that I assume might relate to links that I may have deleted at some point.

Edit: I was just going through and removing those extra unattached links, i.e. right clicking on them to delete, but before I finished doing this, the tool and in fact the whole IDE has locked up with the spinning circle. It's not coming back. The very last thing I was doing was attempting to remove some strange links from "Room 1", which I hadn't yet removed. This is the original room that comes with the template game. I'd left it there by itself while I was creating the rooms for the game. After using the Repair Layout option, the links around this room looked a bit strange, so as part of the removal of unattached links, I tried removing those ones as well. It was in attempting to remove one of them that it appears to have gone in to some sort of infinite loop.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 16, 2017, 03:51:49 PM »
I've decided to have a go at converting a game called Space Ranger. No one will ever have heard of it since I believe it existed only as a BASIC listing for the VIC 20 published in 1985 by a New Zealand computer magazine. The author is R.M.Doull. I had a copy of that magazine issue back when I had a VIC 20. This was when I was first learning to program, and I'd already played other text adventure games like Adventureland by Scott Adams, so this particular program listing in a magazine for a text adventure really captured my imagination. I recall studying it in detail back then. - Well I located the magazine issue on yesterday evening and have studied it yet again. It has 20 rooms, about 12 inventory items, and 4 other "actors". Small enough then to attempt to convert.

The first thing I started on was a room layout using the layout tool. This is actually really cool. The one thing I can't seem to find at the moment is a way to change the text in the room box, i.e. the Room ID. I want to change the names of a couple of them but I can't seem to do this. So I had to resort to deleting the room (I did this within the layout tool) and recreating it with a different name. I was able to pick the same Logic number, which was good. When I tried to link it back up to the other rooms, I somehow ended up linking in to the middle of the room, so I attempted to delete the link, but both the link and the room box disappeared. The Logic was still there in the resource list though but I couldn't work out any way of adding it back in to the layout. If I tried the show room option, this particular room wasn't available for selection, even though it existed in the resource list and wasn't shown in the layout. So I had to delete it again, this time with the right click option in the resource list. What appeared to have happened when I reopened the layout tool is that another one of the rooms had disappeared from the layout. The links from the two rooms that it joins to were still there but the box for the room was missing. I was able to add the original room that had disappeared (and that I then deleted) back in, and I was able to join it back up to the rooms on its side, but after saving this, then closing and reopening the layout tool again, the second room that disappeared mysteriously reappeared again but the original room that disappeared that I had recreated and linked up again has now disappeared again. Not sure how to get around this now. The original deletion of the room appears to have confused the tool.

I might split out the SCI from it and have just AGI

That sounds like a good idea. Would you call the AGI-only project Visual AGI? Or AGI Developer?

The Settings dialog window does have a Defaults button for setting everything back to the default state. When I pressed that, everything was resolved, so I didn't have to locate the registry entry.

When WinAGI starts, it looks for settings (which should be in registry). If it can't find them, (such as first time it runs) it loads defaults. For font size, the default is 10pt. If it does find settings in registry (anytime after first run) all settings get a validation check (in case registry got corrupted or something else went wrong). For font size, if a setting found in registry is less than 4pt, WinAGI uses 4pt, and if greater than 72pt, it uses 72pt.

It turns out that there was more than just the font size that was configured strangely. I suspect that the settings in the registry must have been corrupted because there was quite a lot of settings that were different from the defaults and set to rather obscure values. I would not have changed much if anything from the defaults and yet the resource list was turned off, the tab size was set to 1, the max screen objects set to 1, all zoom levels set to one, almost all checkboxes turned off (although strangely one checkbox that was enabled was the Visual Basic syntax, which I wouldn't have turned on).

I was able to click the Defaults option though and that has restored everything to how it should be. I wonder if there is some way of detecting that something has corrupted the settings and to prompt the user if they want to restore the defaults instead.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:41:27 PM »
Before I finalize this release, though I need your help!
What I would really like is as much feedback as I can get from as many users as possible. If there are any bugs that you are seeing, please let me know so I can address them now. If there are any features that you would like added or modified I'll try to incorporate them (recognizing that not all things are doable. And that there a ton of features in WinAGI that you might not even be aware of - so I might even be able to tell you that WinAGI already does what you want!)

That sounds like something I could help out with. To be honest, I haven't actually spent much time using all the various tools. I've focused too much on building tools rather than using them. I haven't built an AGI game since The Ruby Cast demos. So perhaps I could try adding a few more rooms to that? - Actually, to be more helpful to you, I might try to build something from scratch, perhaps convert a very small text adventure game. I have a couple in mind already. That way I'd be touching all the editors and I'd be doing it from the initial template. Might not get to it for a few days. I have some time later this week.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:35:33 PM »
While I was creating WinAGI, I spent a lot of time disassembling the original AGI interpreters; if y'all have questions about the interpreters, I may have already found the answer for you. And there are some things that are still in the AGI spec files that are wrong (which WinAGI [and it's help files] have right, for example, the algorithm for drawing lines in PIC resources, the definition of splatter codes, the function of reserved flag f11[it's set if a particular platform supports the noise channel - it's not 'logic0 is run for first time']). I also learned a lot about commands, and how the interpreter handles data passed to them which would be really useful for game developers to know and included that in the WinAGI Help file). I may try to upload what I've learned to the Wiki, but only if moderators are cool with it.

The AGI specs probably do require a bit of a revision. I think the original parts of the content have hardly changed since they were written. A few things have been corrected along the way but there probably haven't been many. Yeah, if you have a list of items that you've identified as being inaccurate, it would be great to get them fixed. I'm sure Collector wouldn't mind with regards to his AGI wiki on the sierrahelp web site. Once we get it looking right there, we can copy the relevant bits over to the scummvm wiki. I myself would be interested to look more closely at the splatter codes. I had thought they were accurate based on comparisons between the games and what showpic generated, so I'd be keen to see where they are different. I realise that the line drawing algorithm is probably not exactly what they used, but as far as I could tell, what is in the spec produces the same result, if not in a particularly efficient way. I came up with that by trial and error rather than by disassembling the code, in fact my whole approach to decoding the data back in the early days was by looking at the data rather than the executable. - And since I mentioned GW BASIC in a post from earlier this evening, it was actually back in those days that I started decoding the data. I've still got some GW BASIC programs floating around somewhere from those days that decode AGI game data. Might try to dig them up and see if I can get them running when I have chance. Would be really nostalgic for me, which is what this is all about really.

I also didn't know C# before starting out on the interpreter, but I guess I have the benefit of about 19 years commercial Java programming, which is a similar (although also different in places) syntax. It is certainly a lot more similar than VB is to C#. Once upon a time, BASIC was the only language I knew and that was before VB came out. Started out with Commodore BASIC, then moved to GW BASIC (which came with DOS 3.3), then QBASIC (which came with one of the later DOS versions), and then a bit of VB when I was in University. I wouldn't remember any VB now though. I haven't used it since probably about 1995. It would have changed a lot since then in any case.

Back to the topic in discussion though, it would be fantastic if you could help out with Visual AGI when you're ready. I still haven't officially started working on the IDE itself. What I've currently done is to fork from Collector's repo and to build a separate sub-project within my fork of his repo for building the Interpreter. At some point I'll request Collector to add it back in to the main project. I did this fork initially because I wanted to make sure I'd learnt the language before being let loose on the real thing, but I've probably gone beyond that point now. In hindsight perhaps I should simply have created a feature branch for my work within his repo.

If you did decide to do the conversion to C#, you could make use of the AGI Library that (correct me if I'm wrong Collector) came originally from Visual AGI. I'm using it to load and decode the data for my C# interpreter. It has a lot missing, and I've been adding to it as I go along, but it would give you a good headstart. One of the benefits you'd get is that you'd be able to run my interpreter within the memory of your application. I'm hoping to add breakpoint support at some point with an interface that an IDE could use to step through the code.

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