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Messages - Scavenger

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SCI Syntax Help / Can someone explain how to do blocking actions?
« on: February 11, 2017, 07:45:03 PM »
I've been messing around for the past day or so with SCI 1.1, and so far I really like it - it's way better than SCI0 for what I do, which is mostly VGA stuff.  I've been working through the tutorials and the help file getting used to the engine, but there's still something I've not got my head around, and that's stopping the game while an action takes place, say, if you have an example scene:

Man: "You should try the wine. It is on the table over there."
Ego: "I think I shall."
(Ego walks to table, picking up animation plays.)
(Wait a second or two)
Man: "To your health, good sir."
(Ego drinking animation.)
Ego: "Egad, this is poisoned!"

I know that in AGS, you could queue up Character.Say commands and animations like so:

Code: [Select]
cMan.Say ("You should try the wine. It is on the table over there.");
cEgo.Say ("I think I shall.");
cEgo.Walk (200,150,eBlock);
cEgo.LockView (EGO_TAKE);
cEgo.Animate (0,5,eBlock);
cEgo.UnlockView ();
Wait (80);
cMan.Say ("To your health, good sir.");

But I'm not sure what the equivilent would be in SCI Script... I've managed to do a Script before (while running through the tutorial to make the ship move), so I'm certain it's something to do with those, but how I'd set it up so that the player can't interact while this is going on except to skip speech is beyond me. Any pointers to where I should look? Thanks in advance!

I'm trying to mess around with WinAGI, because sometimes you just wanna create a really old game with a really old engine. (its view editor is one of the best ones I've seen as well, it's so easy to animate in!). The syntax isn't too hard (though I have no idea how to do blocking actions, i.e waiting for an action to complete before continuing with a script), but I have a real problem with WinAGI's logic editor.

Whenever I work in the AGI syntax, writing a "{" character keeps placing vertical tabs (ASCII 11 - the little male symbol) around it, and then the compiler won't  compile it until I fiddle around blindly in the editor to make those vertical tabs vanish. The BASIC syntax does at least compile, but I really hate BASIC, being a C programmer. Is there anyone who knows why this is happening, how I can make it stop, or how to fix it? I've been looking into the source code but I can't see where it ignores whitespace, nor can I get Visual Basic 6.0 working on my machine so I could recompile it.

Everything-Else / Re:
« on: April 27, 2011, 01:17:48 PM »
So what sets AGI/SCI games (playing & developing) apart from the other engines?  I don't know anything about the other engines firsthand, but it seems that the other engines are 'more modern'. 

I've had first hand experience with a number of other engines, and I've been following this community for quite some time now. I primarily use AGS, but sometimes I like to use other engines, depending on what the project requires. I'm growing to like SCI, and though I'm still an outsider I may be able to lend a fresh perspective.

SCI in particular stands up quite well for a couple of reasons:

- Native MT-32 & Adlib support. It is one of the only engines ever to support these wonderful synths (the other being SCUMM, and we all know how well ScummC/ScummGen is coming along). While some people might argue that General MIDI is probably more widespread and accepted, these two are the voices of adventure games. If we have a game that showcases this, like Space Quest III did many years ago, people might take notice - showing that beautiful synth music isn't a lost art. Something that stretches SCI to it's very limit artwise and soundwise. Something that stops people in their tracks and say "That engine made THAT!?". I've noticed, when I've been looking for videos of AGI games, people are annoyed at how rudimentary the sound is. If we show them it's more than just bleepy bloop, they'll come around.

- Script based object generation. Something that AGS lacks that older engines like SCI doesn't is the scripting language. Prop, animation and actor creation in SCI is more flexible and scalable than AGS ever could be (since AGS has a hard limit on most things and stuff is static rather than dynamic). You could potentially procedurally create rooms (with some difficulty) in SCI where in AGS you could not. SCI is a very sophisticated scripting language.

- Ultimate portability. While ScummVM support is still patchy for fangames, the basework is there. Anything that runs ScummVM (or even runs the original SCI/AGI games), can run new games made with it. AGS recently (as in, today) became open source, so we might lose a little ground there, but it would take ages for anything to be done with it. SCI is already complete.

- Low memory footprint. As with the portability, SCI and AGI games are tiny. They're miniscule. They don't require beefy computers in order to run - they just require an engine that's 50kb in size. AGS games require a lot more processing power than zippy ole SCI, meaning that SCI games can be run on even the most stripped down netbook or phone, so long as the interpreter can run on it. I also love that even some of the biggest games can't even break 10mb. A fully voiced game might not even exceed a single CD's worth.

However, this is tempered by the drawbacks of the engine, which stop people from even considering AGI/SCI as a platform, drawbacks we cannot ignore:

- Lack of later version support. SCI1 & 2 is where SCI had the stuff most of the people nowadays grew up with: voice acting, native mouse support, VGA graphics with full motion cutscenes, and for some people, SVGA. Sure, EGA is all well and good, and I'm a big fan of it myself, but when most people think Adventure Game, they think of VGA graphics. SCI looked like it was going to boom once SCI Studio VGA was announced, but since it was stillborn, I've noticed the whole shebang become more abandoned. If only there was some way of finishing what was started! SCI Companion is so good as a program, I just wish it supported SCI1&2. And I bet a lot of other people do, too (since our current generation of hobbyists grew up with them). This is what kept me from the program for so long. I'd come and browse the websites that dealt with it, waiting for that one update that would say "We can make SCI1 games now, woo!" and then I would make a game with it. That day never came. It makes me quite sad, really. You'd probably get loads more people if SCI Companion compiled for the later engines, but those same people would probably be needed to do it. Since there's noone really working on it, people will think that SCI is basically done with. I don't want that to happen. As stuck in the past as we are, I think by expanding the amount of past we're stuck in, we could potentially gather a whole new audience! AGS's 8bit support is dire compared to a real VGA engine. We could sneak in there.

- The documentation is pretty scattered. AGS is what I'd call the benchmark for help files. Nailhead AGI's logic documentation is also pretty good, but SCI's documentation is confusing and spread over several sites, with some links leading absolutely nowhere (the tutorials section on the site has a few, with dead images to boot). It needs some cleaning up and clarifying, especially the script tutorials, which are the most important part. The Sierrahelp wiki strangely renders all text in code blocks really really unreadably tiny, too (on Firefox). It's gotta all be cleaned up, put in one place, and for best effect, bundled with SCI companion in a chm file.

- The games have no exposure! I'm sure there are plenty of great games in the AGI and SCI lists, but on this website, they have a half-size screenshot and no description. Just a title and a download. I'd like to see games get their own page, with a full sized screenshot (It's only 320x200, no harm done) and a quick review of the game, showing us what the game is all about, i.e a synopsis.

You could also make youtube videos of your favorite parts of the new games, since everyone loves to see games move, and innovation is hard to get across in a screenshot! Game walkthroughs (to show off AGI/SCI's powerful programming!), video tutorials, and networking with other game communities (AGS is a particularily nice one, and another community grow out of it  - DAGE, which focuses on Telltale style games) could increase the amount of people who come here - showing the world that SCI is waking from dormancy into full bloom, rather than dying a slow death. Bring the community's work forth for the new generation. I'd love to see videos of Gourd of the Beans and AGI Combat on Youtube! Making people try games out firsthand is the best way, but letting people see the power of the engine secondhand is still a good way to go! Once I'm done with making my game, I'd love to help with this.

Before we go on about cloud computing, web based design programs, and hype, we have to focus on the foundations. Does AGI/SCI have what people want in a game engine? How to we communicate what we can do, and what we can do in the future, to our potential audiences?

I'm sorry for typing such a long post. x3 I'm not very good at brevity. To cut everything short, while I love this engine  and want to make games for it, SCI would be the perfect engine for me if it supported SCI1&2, right now it is good but not featured enough for me to want to use it all the time (especially for my other projects), and I feel this is what is holding back a lot of people (since there are lots of artists who want to show off their pixel art, and EGA art is... niche, at best. Double-wide EGA art doubly so). It supports many things I'd want in my games (especially the capability for sound). SCI and AGI suffer from a lack of exposure and need channels of interest more in line with today's audience (videos, full size screenshots, reviews), and better documentation.

I hope to see this community flourish! :3

SCI Syntax Help / Re: Resetting Walk Cel to 0 and other questions.
« on: April 17, 2011, 06:39:11 PM »
Yeah, I wanted the text parser to always be on screen. The pop up one jars a little too much for the kind of game I wanna make.

Here is a mockup

The inventory button just is a shortcut for the inv command (gives a list of items) and the flair at the side shows the protagonist. It might change expressions once in a while to give clues (don't fall off a cliff, now I am not in grave danger anymore). The layout isn't final, just something to demonstrate. I might move the inventory button to be an item that the flair at the side is holding, once you pick up a certain item.

I'll have a look at those tutorials again, see what I can glean from it :)

SCI Syntax Help / Re: Resetting Walk Cel to 0 and other questions.
« on: April 16, 2011, 09:56:32 PM »
Wow, what a prompt response! I wasn't expecting it.

I'd love to see your code for how you got around the sticking walk frames. :) I can wait for it.

I've had a few looks through the Wiki, there's lots of stuff there I would use once the time comes. I don't think I understand all of it, but if I put my mind to it I'm sure I'll be able to muddle through.

In terms of the props, probably only one or two would animate.

And thanks for liking my animation! :) I love doing low-res stuff. It's my bread and butter to do so much with so little. Any time there's restrictions to work around, even better. It really gets the creative juices flowing.

I think I know how to make fully animated cutscenes, too, but the even timing for animations SCI uses is throwing me off. If I grab hold of the timing myself in script, I should be able to produce something really nice. I'm looking forward to working with this engine! :D

SCI Syntax Help / Resetting Walk Cel to 0 and other questions.
« on: April 16, 2011, 08:24:29 PM »
Recently, I have developed a great interest in creating a game in the SCI engine. I love how it looks and sounds (and it has the exclusive honor of being the only game engine capable of full EGA graphics you can develop for), and I really want the engine to flourish.

Unfortunately, I'm not much of a programmer. I'm an animator by trade, and every programming language I know is C-like (mel scripting, AGS-code), so this new engine (and the scattered documentation) is rather intimidating. The art is the easiest part for me, and the programming the hardest. Could anyone kindly help me with my novice questions?

1) Resetting the Walk Loop to Cel 0 when Not Moving
Something that really bugs me about the way SCI handles walking is that it doesn't reset the loop when you stop, leaving EGO to stand around with his leg in the air. This is acceptable for roughly realistic walk cycles, but for more exaggerated, cartoony ones, it'd look odd:

I don't think having his hair suddenly stick in place would be very appealing somehow.

I imagine you'd have to put it inside a doit method, checking if EGO's view is currently a walk, and if EGO is stopped, set the cel number to 0. But do you put it inside a script of it's own? A main script? A room script? What if I want to extend this functionality to all actors?

2) A Question of Memory
How many props can reasonably be in an SCI screen before it goes belly-up? I've heard a lot of people worrying about heap space. Only thing is, I have quite detailed rooms, like so:
Click here
Would having that many props in one room crash the engine? Would baking the sprites onto the background (via judicious use of AddToPic) ease the load on the engine?

3) Persistant Parser

Say I want to have a persistant GUI in my game, that served as the Parser, a quick Inventory button, and a few bits of flair. How easy would it be to have a persistant parser (like AGI) on the screen all the time, and would it interfere with the rest of the engine's workings?

I'm really sorry for inundating you guys with my questions. I'm really enthused that there are still people working on engines like these, and I so wanted to join in on the game making front. :)

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