Author Topic: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests  (Read 287863 times)

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Online Collector

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #285 on: July 18, 2015, 02:17:57 PM »
A pretty minor thing, but I just noticed the dosbox.conf file. It looks like it came from an ancient version, probably 0.62 (over 10 years old!). The conf has changed over time. It has a number of things that are no longer used and is missing newer sections. While the depreciated settings will be ignored and the missing settings will revert to defaults, it would be good to have one based on official 0.74. Additionally you have the captures folder set to "f:\capture", which I assume is a folder on your development machine.

One thing that I do with my installers is to only include a few settings that can be changed with my config tool and a couple of things that I include so that the user can manually set if they really need to, such as output for PCs that don't like "overlay". DOSBox will simply use its defaults for everything else.

Here is a good generalized conf for SCI games. Cloudee will of course want to change aspect to false. The EXE would need to be changed to for the SCI1.1 template. I have machine included to make it easy to set it to Tandy for AGI games, but could simply be removed for Companion so it will just default to svga_s3.

SCI1-SCI1.1 is the era of the infamous timer bugs, which means for the affected games you would want normal core and cycles from about 8000 to 10000. It might be good to keep this at dynamic core with max cycles so any potential speed bugs in the developer's game might surface during development.

This conf has the captures folder set to the game's path. The default path is the local %AppData%\DOSBox\capture, but if the game under development needs write permissions there should be no problems with using it for the captures.

The cmd only needs:

"< path to your DOSBox >\dosbox.exe" -conf dosbox.conf

if it is run from the same folder. The exit command is issued from the [autoexec] section of the conf. No path needs to be set for the conf file if it is in the same directory as the cmd. You could include the additional -noconsole command to suppress the console window. You would of course not want to do this if you are using a debug build of DOSBox.


The way we are handling DOSBox from Developer is that it writes the conf file based on the settings the user can select from the options dialog. This can be done on a project specific basis. It has more options than my config tool that I include with my installers. A debug build of DOSBox is included in the "Tools" sub directory under Developer's main folder. This eliminates the need to take its path into account for running the game. It uses no cmd or bat file to start the game.
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #286 on: July 18, 2015, 03:31:07 PM »
Timer bugs are a direct result of not having been able to test on faster machines. Whatever development environment we're developing in it's going to be much easier and a lot more natural to avoid running into timer bugs without even knowing it. It's not something that's inherent to SCI1.1, it's the way you script your game.
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Offline lskovlun

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #287 on: July 18, 2015, 04:34:37 PM »
It's not something that's inherent to SCI1.1, it's the way you script your game.
Not true. Earlier SCI games used to call Wait in the main loop. This synchronizes the game loop against the system clock while still keeping the speed adjustable.
Later SCI games omit this statement, letting games run as fast as they can and putting a strong burden on the programmer that he wouldn't need to bear otherwise. It's a deliberate decision on the part of the system programmers, and it's bad design. I'd say it's inherent.

In fact, I've just noticed that the NRS patches for at least one game add a Wait statement in the main loop (although not where Sierra used to have it).

Online Collector

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #288 on: July 18, 2015, 04:35:20 PM »
Timer bugs are a direct result of not having been able to test on faster machines. Whatever development environment we're developing in it's going to be much easier and a lot more natural to avoid running into timer bugs without even knowing it. It's not something that's inherent to SCI1.1, it's the way you script your game.

Oh I understand that it was scripting errors, but my point was just that if DOSBox is set to dynamic core with max cycles any such scripting errors will become readily apparent.

Anyway, the reason for my post was that the dosbox.conf in the template games needs to be replaced.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 04:37:45 PM by Collector »
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Online Collector

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #289 on: July 18, 2015, 04:40:10 PM »
It's not something that's inherent to SCI1.1, it's the way you script your game.
Not true. Earlier SCI games used to call Wait in the main loop. This synchronizes the game loop against the system clock while still keeping the speed adjustable.
Later SCI games omit this statement, letting games run as fast as they can and putting a strong burden on the programmer that he wouldn't need to bear otherwise. It's a deliberate decision on the part of the system programmers, and it's bad design. I'd say it's inherent.

In fact, I've just noticed that the NRS patches for at least one game add a Wait statement in the main loop (although not where Sierra used to have it).

I have not looked at the scripts in the new template game, yet. Has this been taken into account?
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #290 on: July 18, 2015, 04:44:55 PM »
My bad! Still, 'the way you script your game' is still valid. We don't have to script our games that way.
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Offline troflip

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #291 on: July 18, 2015, 05:45:22 PM »
I have not looked at the scripts in the new template game, yet. Has this been taken into account?

It has not, but it sounds like it should? Looking at old games, I see a Wait(gGameSpeed) in the loops in the play and replay methods. I assume that's what we're talking about. It's not obvious what I'd use for game speed in this case though. I guess the equivalent in the template game is gGEgoMoveSpeed.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 05:47:39 PM by troflip »
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #292 on: July 24, 2015, 12:49:33 AM »
Looks like there's a bug in the picture export function to 8-bit BMP. It produces this result with a strange palette that I didn't have anywhere in my game.

This also brings up another feature that might be useful; importing a picture but using the palette entries already loaded (or the default palette if it's a brand new picture), but without remapping colours. My guess is that I'd get the proper colours here if I was able to import without taking the palette with it or remapping the colours?
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 12:53:18 AM by MusicallyInspired »
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Offline troflip

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #293 on: July 24, 2015, 01:09:21 AM »
Looks like there's a bug in the picture export function to 8-bit BMP. It produces this result with a strange palette that I didn't have anywhere in my game.

Ha wow, that's a pretty ugly bug. Looks like that functionality hasn't been updated for VGA, maybe. Should be an easy fix [edit: fix submitted].

This also brings up another feature that might be useful; importing a picture but using the palette entries already loaded (or the default palette if it's a brand new picture), but without remapping colours. My guess is that I'd get the proper colours here if I was able to import without taking the palette with it or remapping the colours?

You can already do that in a roundabout way:
- Export the current picture's palette as a .pal file
- Import your corrupted background image, and set to use imported palette
- Edit the palette and import the .pal file
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 01:18:01 AM by troflip »
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #294 on: July 24, 2015, 01:22:21 AM »
Hmm it must mess up the entries as well. This is what I get in that instance (this is not an 8-bit BMP, I couldn't export from Companion without it screwing the palette up further, so I just copied and pasted it into PSP and saved it as a hi-color BMP).
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Offline troflip

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #295 on: July 24, 2015, 01:27:31 AM »
Did you uncheck "use only nnn free palette entries" in the import background dialog?
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Offline Kawa

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #296 on: July 24, 2015, 05:03:41 AM »
This is what you get when you export a view to bitmap. Also not "updated for VGA"?

Offline troflip

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #297 on: July 24, 2015, 05:13:40 AM »
The pic problem had nothing to do with VGA, actually.

Are you using "export view as encoded bitmap"? That definitely only works in EGA, since it encodes the view resource within the unused nibble of each byte. I'll remove that menu item for VGA.

Or are you using the generate bitmaps thing in the extract dialog? That should work. And I should probably add that feature to the view menu or something.
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Offline Kawa

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #298 on: July 24, 2015, 05:27:00 AM »
Twas indeed "encoded bitmap", and it would be nice to have a way to dump just the one resource to a bitmap, encoded or otherwise.

Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: SCI Companion V3 - alpha build notes/bugs/feature requests
« Reply #299 on: July 24, 2015, 11:22:16 AM »
Did you uncheck "use only nnn free palette entries" in the import background dialog?

That must have been it. All colours are normal now. Good to know.
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