Author Topic: SCI tool requests  (Read 7497 times)

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Offline gumby

SCI tool requests
« on: September 22, 2010, 08:18:39 AM »
Okay, I had to start this post.  What is lacking from a development standpoint of SCI games?  Could be creating a game from the ground up or reverse-engineering an existing game.  I'm not referring to a revamped recreation of Studio or Companion, but rather tools that would ease laborious tasks.

If there are requests out there that are 'targeted' into a specific problem, *especially* if they do not involve a GUI (command line is my specialty, I might be up for some light GUI work...) I may be up for giving some of my time to addressing them. 

Examples of what I've been working on/am working on are an external vocab editor & a spelling/grammar checker for text resources.


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Offline Collector

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 02:09:33 PM »
RE tools are what I would like to see, but I would have to give it some thought as to exactly what. My interest is more about fixing Sierra games. There are still some games with timer issues and other errors. I can think of other modifications would be nice, too. A no interlace patch for Phantasmagoria 2. Endroz' created his no interlace patch for GK2 and Phantasmagoria 1 can turn the interlacing on and off through the preferences, but not Phantasmagoria 2. Endroz' UniSCI tool is great for concatenating resources spanned across multiple CDs, but does not work with Lighthouse or RAMA.
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 06:05:50 PM »
As far as I'm concerned, the biggest issue I have with SCI development is the almost complete lack of proper sound resource tools. We need an all-inclusive SCI Sound Resource tool that can do everything SCI Viewer, Soundbox, SYX2PAT, BNK2PAT/PAT2BNK, and ADDWAV can do and more. Adlib emulation for proper previewing of sound resources via Adlib output would also be welcome. Currently SCI Viewer will only output to a MIDI device which obviously doesn't work well if you want to preview the sound in Adlib mode. An easier way to add loop points and cue points than how Soundbox handles it. Also, a built-in rudimentary MIDI sequencer would be nice to add quick fixes to MIDIs or even already converted sound resources.

I realise that would be a big job for anyone to take on and not everyone is a musician. But being a musician this is a major issue for me regarding creating SCI games. Especially since SCI centers around music with a lot more focus and attention than AGI ever did.

Besides that, if a VGA SCI IDE tool is ever completed it'd be nice to have a converter to convert back and forth between PCX/BMP/JPG/GIF/PNG/WHATEVER and background resources. I long to MOD SCI1+ backgrounds :D.

But I can't think of anything else for EGA games at the moment.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 06:07:26 PM by MusicallyInspired »
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Offline gumby

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 09:33:15 AM »
All right, nice.  I guess I could have predicted those 2 responses - right up both your alleys :).  Works for me!  I'm not quite ready to tackle these yet (several other things are in queue - the text dumper is my current tool development project), but I'm all for it.  I'll circle back around for more details when I'm ready. 

P.S.  - if there is a tool that would be relatively simple to develop (unquantifiable, I know...) , I might knock that out sooner rather than later.
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
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Offline gumby

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2010, 10:38:30 PM »
Here's an idea for a tool:  Given a view resource that only has the 'visual' canvas created (like a bmp image that was 'refreshly' imported via SCI Companion), leverage an edge-detection tool to draw all the control lines into the 'control' canvas.

Not sure where edge-detection technology is at this point & how it would work on the relatively 'rough' EGA images that SCI uses.  Developer would still need to assign a control color to each edge-detected line.

I've never even done this by hand, myself (I've only done very minimal programming the control colors & the like).  Figured I would throw the idea out there for everyone to shoot holes in it.
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2010, 08:06:33 AM »
You can already do this. When using a fake ego view for testing the priorities of a background you can set the view's priority manually, have it change to whatever priority colour it's on, and also enable "observe control lines" so it won't go past control lines. I think it only counts white ones. I specifically requested this from troflip when Companion was in its infancy to which he happily obliged, to my delight.
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Offline gumby

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 08:18:59 AM »
I'll have to check this out.  Like I said I've done next to nothing with view designing/developing...
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
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Offline gumby

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2010, 10:29:39 PM »
Okay, my bad.  I should have played with Companion before I posted this idea.  I should have said "priority" instead of "control".  My thoughts were to (automatically) identify all the objects in the image & then allow the developer to pick a priority color for each (or simply ignore the object if it's in the background), rather than trace each one by hand.
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
Winter Break 2012 Rope Prop Competition

Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2010, 11:13:05 PM »
Is that even possible? How does a picture know what you want in the foreground and what in the background?

Unless you mean something like AGS where you can import a priority mask image as priority data for a background image? Much like how you import/convert other images to a visual picture resource in SCI Companion? I've been actually really wishing for such a tool, actually. Would make things a lot easier if you didn't have to draw priority lines with Companion's tools. And Control lines as well, for that matter.
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Offline Collector

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 11:56:54 PM »
How about an import/export tool that would allow you to work with such things in a good vector tool like Corel Draw or illustrator?
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Offline gumby

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2010, 08:39:26 AM »
Right, there is no way to detect what should be in the foreground/background without some form of depth.  The developer would need to be presented with each object that was identified & indicate if a priority color was desired.  But you've hit on it - I'm looking for a way to minimize/avoid drawing priority lines. 

How is the image editing for Studio/Comp?  Would importing/exporting views to another tool be beneficial?  I really need to spend some time working with views to see what I'm up against...

In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 11:47:37 AM »
Views are basically no problem. You can copy/paste back and forth between Companion's View editor and any image editing program. And it'll translate the palette to SCI's 16-color range as close as possible. It doesn't have any of the detail options that the background image converter has so it's only a "nearest neighbor" type of deal. No dithering or anything.

If only we had the source for Companion. We could look at the code for how the background image converter works and work something exactly the same for control and priority....

...actually, now that I'm thinking about it this is possible already! Here's what you do, create a priority screen version of a background in an image editor (this would be easy if you're already working with layers to create a background image) and import it into SCI Companion the same way you would import a regular background image. Make sure the colors are right and then go into the the toolbox with all the image "undo states" on the left and change each instance of "Set Visual" to a "Set Priority" instead and you've got your priority image! It wouldn't be an automatic detect thing like you're thinking, but like I said above, if you're already creating a background image with layers in a conventional image editor (Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro) you could easily create a priority image from this for importing with Companion's background converter.

Nonetheless, it would be handy to have a tool to do this for us either way.
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Offline Collector

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2010, 02:13:04 PM »
Much of this would be far easier to do in vector than raster. Making adjustments would be very easy. I suppose that you could export your vector drawing to raster before importing into the game, but being able import/export a format like .CDR or .AI directly would be nice.
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2010, 04:51:10 PM »
That is true. But I just don't see the point personally in working with vector tools as opposed to raster tools for such a low resolution. Especially seeing as everything needs to be pixel perfect in such low resolutions.
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Offline Collector

Re: SCI tool requests
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2010, 07:30:36 PM »
That is true. But I just don't see the point personally in working with vector tools as opposed to raster tools for such a low resolution. Especially seeing as everything needs to be pixel perfect in such low resolutions.
Perhaps you have not worked much in vector graphics, but it is still far easier in vector. Besides, weren't the early SCI games done in vector, anyway?
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