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General and Everything Else => The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff => Topic started by: EricOakford on November 24, 2021, 12:12:09 PM

Title: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on November 24, 2021, 12:12:09 PM
So You Thought You Were a Hero? is an adaptation of the AGS fangame Quest for Glory 4 1/2 into SCI.
As the AGS game is horribly buggy and the Windows version (which is slightly more polished than the DOS version) does not work properly on modern Windows, I got the idea to remake the game in SCI11.
There was an attempt in 2013 to update the AGS game to newer AGS engines, but as of 2016 it seems to have been abandoned.
Since we've gained more knowledge of the SCI engine, and I've reverse-engineered the official QFG games, it only seems appropriate to put this knowledge to the test.
One criticism of the game is its offensive content. This will remain, but the game will have a setting to reduce this content (set to the lowest, Clean, by default). There will also be a content advisory at the start of the game noting this.
Another criticism is the fact that most of its graphics were mostly lifted from other Sierra games (notably, Conquests of the Longbow). Although I would like to replace these graphics with original ones, I am not an artist and have limited skill in graphics. For now, the Conquests graphics are being used as placeholders.

Ideally, I would like to upgrade this game to SCI32 and have SVGA graphics made. Then it would truly be the bridge between QFG4 and 5, and have all-original graphics.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: MusicallyInspired on November 24, 2021, 08:08:41 PM
Never was a QFG fan but I do remember how popular QFG4.5 was. I'll be watching this with interest regardless however as anything in SCI has my attention. I'm also down for SCI32 fangames but I wonder how possible that feat is.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on November 24, 2021, 08:32:29 PM
Hurrah! Using a newly-built AGSUtils (https://github.com/rofl0r/agsutils), I was able to extract all of the sprites from QFG4.5! They are stored in TGA format, which is supported by GIMP. This should make things significantly easier...
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Collector on November 24, 2021, 11:27:28 PM
I like your solution to the questionable content. As much as I dislike some of that content, I dislike censorship more. Will you be putting this on your git?
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on November 24, 2021, 11:40:59 PM
I like your solution to the questionable content. As much as I dislike some of that content, I dislike censorship more. Will you be putting this on your git?

It is on my git, it's just private.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: MusicallyInspired on November 25, 2021, 12:51:06 AM
Hurrah! Using a newly-built AGSUtils (https://github.com/rofl0r/agsutils), I was able to extract all of the sprites from QFG4.5! They are stored in TGA format, which is supported by GIMP. This should make things significantly easier...

Nice! I just built it myself with cygwin. Hopefully they can extract backgrounds (and perhaps more importantly, priority masks), videos, and other content eventually.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: richruss691 on November 25, 2021, 01:43:33 PM
Awesome! It'll be great to play through that again.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: gumby on November 28, 2021, 01:44:28 PM
Never got that far in the QFG series, I think I only made it through QFG2.  Good luck with this!
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Collector on November 28, 2021, 08:45:29 PM
Never got that far in the QFG series, I think I only made it through QFG2.  Good luck with this!

You should at least give QfG4 a run through. Just be sure to play the CD version. Narration by John Rhys-Davies alone makes it worth it. It is a very fun game.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on November 29, 2021, 07:18:50 PM
Never got that far in the QFG series, I think I only made it through QFG2.  Good luck with this!

You should at least give QfG4 a run through. Just be sure to play the CD version. Narration by John Rhys-Davies alone makes it worth it. It is a very fun game.

And the original QFG4.5 authors apparently never completed QFG4, since Bonehead (who was incorrectly identified as Bones) mentioned that you beat Baba Yaga a second time in Monrova (actually Mordavia), which never actually happens. I have since rewritten this dialog to be more accurate.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Collector on November 29, 2021, 08:06:14 PM
And the original QFG4.5 authors apparently never completed QFG4, since Bonehead (who was incorrectly identified as Bones) mentioned that you beat Baba Yaga a second time in Monrova (actually Mordavia), which never actually happens. I have since rewritten this dialog to be more accurate.

Good to hear that continuity will be better maintained.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on December 01, 2021, 11:18:23 PM
And the original QFG4.5 authors apparently never completed QFG4, since Bonehead (who was incorrectly identified as Bones) mentioned that you beat Baba Yaga a second time in Monrova (actually Mordavia), which never actually happens. I have since rewritten this dialog to be more accurate.

Good to hear that continuity will be better maintained.

Also better maintained will be the character classes. All three hero types had the sword and shield, which made the Magic User a bit too overpowered with his Leprechaun Gold and Healing spells (at least he would have been, had spellcasting in combat actually hurt the enemy). I plan to have only the Fighter have the sword and shield, just like in the official games.

Other nerfs will be the Leprechaun Gold spell (can no longer use it to pay off the lawyer, reduces honor, etc.), the ability to mug people (reduces honor, takes away puzzle points),

I want to add more alternative solutions for each hero type. Allow the Thief to just jump over the divide that normally requires the lasso (and the Magic User to levitate across with some help); allow the Fighter to just fight his way through certain enemies; allow the Magic User to just use Flame Dart on that mutant plant; these are just some examples I can think of.

All of this could have been excused back in 2001 Now that I've done decompilations of the official games, I can make this one more accurate to them.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on December 07, 2021, 07:26:18 PM
And now I've managed to make random encounters and combat possible! The Goblin and Elite Guard are now possible combatants. Now I just need to set the Encounter region for every room that is meant to have a possible encounter, and maybe grab some code from the QFG3 decompilation...
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: MusicallyInspired on December 07, 2021, 09:26:22 PM
Bonus points if you can have it import/export a QFG character profile file.  ;D
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on December 08, 2021, 12:36:50 AM
Bonus points if you can have it import/export a QFG character profile file.  ;D

I certainly could. That's something I was considering. Maybe late in development (like when this is ported to SCI32) this could be added, since I've already reverse-engineered the import/export scripts for QFG4.

Of course, I'll have to ensure compatibility with QFG5, so naturally the QFG4.5-exclusive spells will not be exported. There will be an in-game explanation for this, though (for example, with Leprechaun Gold, it was already mentioned that Silmaria suffers from "tremendous inflation" according to Tarna's moneychanger, so I could have Erasmus confiscate the spell for Silmaria's economic safety). Another idea is that the events are all just a dream by the Hero (which would explain the discrepancies between this and the official games).

On another note, the third and last enemy in the game, Cleo's murderer, has been added. There may be more enemies on the way, but for now, I'd like to focus on the actual rooms.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on December 13, 2021, 12:06:06 PM
One reason I'd like to eventually upgrade to SCI32 is better support for WAV-based music.
The MIDI files can be converted to WAV files using something like Anvil Studio. But to make them sound better, a soundfont works wonders. There's one here (https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/) that sounds good, the General MIDI soundfont "SGM-v2.01-YamahaGrand-Guit-Bass-v2.7". Another good choice is Arachno.
Torin's Passage (which most closely corresponds to my SCI2.1 template) appears to only support monaural sounds, as all of the audio files are mono. Sound effects are 16-bit, while music is 8-bit.
So it seems fair that the music should be exported as 8-bit mono tracks.
Most of the sound effects I'm using are from QFG5 and already 16-bit.

But one drawback to SCI32 is that SCI2 pics do not appear to support controls; where actors can go is determined by polygons instead. For this reason, I will try to only use polygons instead of control colors.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Kawa on December 13, 2021, 12:54:00 PM
But one drawback to SCI32 is that SCI2 pics do not appear to support controls; where actors can go is determined by polygons instead. For this reason, I will try to only use polygons instead of control colors.
This is true. While later 16-bit SCI merely deprecated the control screen, SCI32 outright removed it and took the vector drawing commands with it. Basically the only drawing command still allowed is Image, which has been extended to also specify a priority level.

(https://helmet.kafuka.org/logopending/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Image2-1.png)
(https://helmet.kafuka.org/logopending/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/a.gif)(https://helmet.kafuka.org/logopending/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/b.gif)

Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on December 14, 2021, 10:54:48 PM
All right. After shelling out $39 for Anvil Studios' Multi-Audio 8/16 accessory, I've managed to convert all of the original music to WAV files.
I thought I was using the SGM soundfont, but it turned out I was using Arachno instead.  That's a good thing, though, since Arachno is actually more accurate.
And I know it's more accurate (and which music is original) because the QFG4.5 soundtrack is actually available for purchase! Really! (https://www.amazon.com/Quest-Glory-Thought-Heard-Soundtrack/dp/B005F1T1Y0) The composer's name matches that of what I found in the ripped MIDI files.
I made both mono and stereo masters of the conversions, just to be safe.

So go buy the official soundtrack! (I did!)
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on May 30, 2022, 01:22:18 PM
Now I am working to bring the game to SCI2.0. This required a whole new dialog tree system (based on QFG4's). Lots of script code will need to be revised for the 32-bit engine. And Companion will need to better support SCI32 so that graphical issues with the views (caused by the way RESOURCE.MAP is altered, not by the views being exported from SCI1.1) don't occur anymore. But I think it'll be worth it.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Collector on May 30, 2022, 04:41:02 PM
Are you able to add that support or do we need someone else. I don't think Phil is of a mind to invest more time in Companion. If not you perhaps Kawa? It would be great to have support for all versions of SCI.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Kawa on May 31, 2022, 08:02:17 AM
I'd love to add proper SCI2 support myself, but I wouldn't know how. Best I can offer is testing and UX guidance.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on June 15, 2022, 11:20:22 AM
Updating the engine again, this time to SCI2.1. I'm using the debug interpreter from January 1995, which still supports 320x200 resolution graphics (SCI upscales them to 640x400). Quite a few code rewrites and a new set of system scripts were needed, but it compiles and works after that.

Now I won't be constrained by QFG1's original palettes. I'm now basing the day-to-night transition and palette mapping on QFG4, with the talker color assignment based on QFG1. This will require exporting the SCI1.1 pics and views (as well as the extracted AGS sprites) to BMP files, then importing them back into SCI2 resources to map them to the new palettes. The transition is surprisingly accurate.

To create the night and sunset palettes, it's just a matter of adding the pics' embedded palettes as palette resources, then applying a tint to said palettes (dark blue for night, orange for sunset).

Code: [Select]
QFG4 palette map
Global colors: 0-79
Palette 1000 is the global night palette. Palette 2000 is the global sunset palette.
UI colors: 80-111
Room colors: 112-235
Talker colors: 236-252
Remap color: 253
Skip color: 254
Only colors 0-79 and 112-235 should be tinted for the night or sunset palettes.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Collector on June 15, 2022, 09:11:49 PM
Nice. I look forward to seeing this.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: EricOakford on June 18, 2022, 07:37:20 PM
And here's the day-to-night effect in action, in the mountains.

You will notice that I put the status line at the bottom of the screen. This is to cover up the fact that the removal of the kernel-based status line freed up space at the top, resulting in imported pictures having a white line at the bottom.

Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: gumby on June 19, 2022, 04:13:21 PM
That's awesome.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: MusicallyInspired on June 19, 2022, 11:22:18 PM
Fantastic.
Title: Re: So You Thought You Were a Hero? Development Journal
Post by: Collector on June 20, 2022, 06:26:08 PM
Impressive.