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Messages - lance.ewing

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SCI Development Tools / Re: Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 18, 2010, 04:03:44 AM »
Pretty sure white is used as pic priority... And about the little lines, never noticed them, the line is the front boundary of that priority band so yeah, they should go up.

I might fire up the original SCI interpreter in debug mode and do some priority band testing with ego to verify this.

SCI Development Tools / Re: Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 18, 2010, 01:00:15 AM »
In companion the prioriy bands work right. Brandon your problem probably appear off because of the ego's foot print. it's based off the ystep so could look slightly off in actual play hence the necesary adjustments

SCI Companion doesn't appear to match the priority band formula that scummvm uses. The differences are very minor though. I'm talking about a single line out every 3rd or so priority band. As an example, line 169 should be priority band 13 according to scummvm (regardless of whether each step is performed solely as an integer calculation or with retaining the fractional parts, it still produces the same result of 13):

1 + ((169 - 42) * 2000) / (((190 - 42) * 2000)/14) = 13

Now if you open up SCI Companion, create a new picture and then take the mouse down to the 169th line, you'll notice that the priority band is still 12. It doesn't change to 13 until line 170. In total I think there are 5 that are misplaced, i.e. bands 1, 6, 8, 11 and 13.

I think I've just spotted another issue with SCI Companion. When I turn on the grid lines, not only does priority band 13 get drawn on line 170 but the short line drawn upwards from the right hand end of the priority band line implies that everything before and including line 170 is priority band 13 (since 13 is light magenta). That short line on the right hand end should be drawn downwards shouldn't it? As its currently drawn, it is implying a white priority band, which doesn't exist in SCI0 as far as I know. A priority value of 15 exists for VIEWs but a priority band on the screen of value 15 doesn't exist. I am assuming here that SCI Companion is a SCI0 picture editor.

I just found this comment in the ScummVM source code:

* Applies to all versions before 0.000.502
* Old SCI versions used to interpret the third DrawPic() parameter inversely,
* with the opposite default value (obviously).
* Also, they used 15 priority zones from 42 to 200 instead of 14 priority
* zones from 42 to 190.

Seems like I'll never get this sorted then! Even different versions of SCI0 have different rules on something quite fundamental!! - It appears, though, that SCI Companion is assuming versions newer than 0.000.502 since the lines only go up to 190, and the Priority value on the status line at the bottom only goes up to 14.

The reason I'm bringing all these things up for discussion is because I want to get things as accurate as possible with PICEDIT's SCI0 support.

AGI Development Tools / Re: AGI Tools and whatnot
« on: December 18, 2010, 12:00:12 AM »
Does anyone know whose site that is? I'd be interested in talking to that person. The experiences mentioned regarding the AGI to SCI PIC2PIC conversion utility would be very interesting and relevant to the SCI0 support I'm putting into PICEDIT. I had assumed that the line drawing algorithm would be one thing that would not have changed but that site mentions that it did change. Does anyone know if the line algorithm really did change? Or is it that just when drawn at a higher resolution the lines don't match up?

I'm going to download this now and give it a whirl!


So what did you think? Have you switched to using this version of PICEDIT for drawing the pictures for your The Gourd of the Beans game? It would be great to get some feedback from someone that is using the tool on an active AGI game project.

SCI Development Tools / Re: Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:10:21 AM »
I have confirmed now that both formulas give the same priority band values for all 190 lines, in fact they both give the wrong values for values under 42. So I think the actual logic would be that anything under 42 is priority 0 and everything 42 and above follows one of the two formulas (which, as I say, appear to be equivalent enough to generate the same values).

Thanks for confirming the issue with SCI Companion. Does SCI Studio have the same issue? I haven't checked yet.

SCI Development Tools / Re: Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 16, 2010, 07:49:06 PM »
I have just checked the scummvm source code and their formula for SCI0 is as follows:

1 + ((Y - 42) * 2000) / (((190 - 42) * 2000)/14)

There is a comment in the source code saying not to modify the calculation because should not involve any kind of rounding of doubles.

It looks roughly the same as the calculation I came up with. It's too late in the evening to figure out if they generate the same values or not.

SCI Development Tools / Re: Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 16, 2010, 07:32:47 PM »
Tonight I started adding some SCI0 awareness to PICEDIT. I'm still a few weeks away from having something ready but thought I'd mention something. I've got a feeling that the priority bands are misplaced in SCI Companion. Could this be possible?

I think this might be the priority band calculation:

priorityBand = RoundDown( (Y - 42) / ((190 - 42) / 14) ) + 1

I guess I could dig into the scummvm source code to confirm this but my first point of verification was SCI Companion, and as I say, it doesn't seem to match this calculation, which makes me think I might have it wrong.

SCI Syntax Help / Re: Vocab.900 - The 'Black Box'
« on: December 16, 2010, 02:01:25 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that 10+ years back someone in the SCI community (maybe Brian) had some real snippets of SCI code. I think it came from a book or perhaps a magazine article. Not sure exactly. If memory serves me right, it was for one of the Police Quest games (I might be wrong about that but fairly sure it was a Police Quest game). I had assumed that Brian based his syntax on the short snippets of real code that Sierra had released with books or articles or interviews or whatever. I'm impressed that Brian came up with something that actually works so well given that there was such little info available.

SCI Syntax Help / Re: Vocab.900 - The 'Black Box'
« on: December 15, 2010, 05:09:21 PM »
To be honest I never spent much time looking into decoding SCI back when I was writing all those tools and specs for AGI. But having worked as a Java developer for the past 13 years, it occurs to me now that the way SCI works seems to be quite similar to Java. Doesn't SCI have a VM that the scripts compile to? And it's object oriented as well. Sounds very much like Java.

I guess the only difference is the Lisp syntax. Nowadays we have languages like Clojure that are lisp-like and compile to the Java VM, so that's even closer.

Yes, Sierra were definitely way ahead of their time. They were building the SCI system back in 1987 but Sun didn't build Java until around 1991 (Oak language as it was called then).

Yeah the background image feature was there in the original. It was a bit harder to use though because you had to run PICEDIT with a command line parameter and it had to be a PCX file (an obscure image format that most of us would have forgotten existed nowadays). I think it also had to be exactly the right size. None of these limitations exist in the Java version.

In theory it should be smoother than the original. I used a much faster fill and line routine and I've still got the biggest speed improvement up my sleeve.

Hey thanks! Yeah, I had a lot more time on my hands back then. I was at uni at that point and living at home, so a lot of spare time to work on things like this. Now I'm married with two kids so unfortunately I can't get as involved as I once could. I guess that's why I thought I'd pick one thing (PICEDIT) and make that my focus. - Seems like the interest in AGI has dropped while SCI has picked up though? Is that the case?

Did you give the Java version of PICEDIT a try? Let me know what you thought. Any suggestions for features?

SCI Development Tools / Re: Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 13, 2010, 01:43:45 AM »
I might give it a go then. I'll add it to the list of features for version 1.3. I already have a fairly long list of features I've put together myself.

I should point out that an import/export capability isn't going to be perfect for what should be obvious reasons. What I'm imaging is that you'd export the picture to SCI0 and then (assuming PICEDIT didn't have SCI0 editing capabilities at the time) you would load it into a SCI0 editor and fix it up.

Of course if PICEDIT supported full editing of the SCI0 picture then it wouldn't need to be exported.

SCI Development Tools / Picture Editor written in Java
« on: December 13, 2010, 12:55:06 AM »
Hi all,

You may or may not be aware that I recently released a Java version of my PICEDIT AGI picture editing tool. I posted about it in the AGI tools forum:,365.0.html

The reason I have raised the topic again here is that as I was writing the tool, I thought to myself that it wouldn't take much to make it support SCI0 pictures as well. Would that be something that people in the SCI community would be interested in?

I guess support for SCI0 could range anywhere from an import/export from/to SCI0 pictures...   all the way up to supporting full editing of SCI0 pictures.

AGI Development Tools / New Java version of PICEDIT (AGI Picture Editor)
« on: December 13, 2010, 12:30:57 AM »
Hi all,

I've been away from the AGI community for about a decade but recently my interest was renewed again. For some reason I felt like revisiting my AGI picture editor tool PICEDIT. I've been a Java developer for the past 13 years and have no desire to write C code anymore, so I decided as a starting point to extending PICEDIT I would rewrite the tool in Java. I have now completed this conversion to Java and the first beta release is available on my new web site below:

I'd be very keen for as many AGI/SCI fanmade game fans as possible to download PICEDIT 1.2.1 and let me know what you think. You'll need to download and install Java 6 first but after that all you'll need to do is double click on the downloaded PICEDIT 1.2.1 JAR file. The good thing about it being written in Java is that it is instantly available for all platforms... so you'll be able to run it on Windows (XP/Vista/7), Linux, Mac, etc.

It is very likely that there are still bugs in it so I apologise in advance for this. What I'm really looking for is testers though. I'll fix bugs as soon as they are reported.

From this point I'm hoping to add a lot more features. At the moment it is almost the same as the original PICEDIT 1.2 that I released back in 1997. Over the next month or so I'll be adding many more features. It would be good to get some suggestions from the AGI and SCI community about the features that should be added.

I look forward to hearing all of your feedback.


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