Author Topic: 1400 pictures?  (Read 1696 times)

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Offline lance.ewing

1400 pictures?
« on: December 03, 2023, 10:51:12 AM »
Here's another challenge for @AGKorson.

Recently I mentioned in another thread that Time Zone has close to 1400 pictures. I commented that it might not be the ADL game that someone would pick to create an AGI version of, given the number of rooms/pictures.

Let's say someone did decide to take on that challenge. How might the 256 picture/room limit be overcome? It would need to be some kind of non standard approach.

I have a few thoughts, none of which I have fully thought through the practicality of yet:

* Since ADL games don't need VIEWs, perhaps the pictures could be constructed using many VIEW cells placed together with add.to.pic

* Or perhaps some clever use of picture overlays.

* Or since ADL games don't have the priority screen, the priority screen could be used for visual pictures instead, giving another 256 pictures.

* Or a combination of all the above.

* Or perhaps a power pack feature to load more than the 256 pictures (although this would restrict it to the original DOS interpreters only)

Thoughts?



Offline lskovlun

Re: 1400 pictures?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2023, 12:00:40 PM »
Can you put different pics in different VOLs and have it work reliably? (the interpreter won't help you with disk changes if you do, but that can be worked around)

Offline AGKorson

Re: 1400 pictures?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2023, 09:56:20 PM »
If it's just pictures, I think I could create a Power Pack function to allow more than 256. The directory would be the trickiest part- you'd need another DIR file with a custom format. Repurposing VIEWDIR might be an option, if views aren't being used - you could easily double the number of views to 512.

Or (more preferable to me) embed the DIR information in a normal resource. That'd make it easier to allow greater than 512 pictures. Picture 0 is perfect for this, as it's rarely used in games.

For resources other than pictures (I'm looking at you, logics), I'm not sure there's an easy answer - AGI just isn't built to support more than 256 resources because they use byte values for resource numbers. (Pictures are the exception, because nothing else interacts with them, so custom functions would be relatively easy to write.)

You could allow for more than 255 rooms relatively easily using standard AGI code. Use a variable to track a 'page' value; each page can then hold 255 rooms. When a new room is loaded, use the page number and currentRoom number to run the correct code. Depending on complexity of code, you might still be limited, trying to fit enough code for multiple pages into each logic.

The priority screen option wouldn't really work, because when it's shown, the interpreter pauses the game. Without a hack of some kind, you couldn't interact with the priority screen.

Offline lance.ewing

Re: 1400 pictures?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2023, 07:12:16 AM »
If it's just pictures, I think I could create a Power Pack function to allow more than 256. The directory would be the trickiest part- you'd need another DIR file with a custom format. Repurposing VIEWDIR might be an option, if views aren't being used - you could easily double the number of views to 512.

Or (more preferable to me) embed the DIR information in a normal resource. That'd make it easier to allow greater than 512 pictures. Picture 0 is perfect for this, as it's rarely used in games.

For resources other than pictures (I'm looking at you, logics), I'm not sure there's an easy answer - AGI just isn't built to support more than 256 resources because they use byte values for resource numbers. (Pictures are the exception, because nothing else interacts with them, so custom functions would be relatively easy to write.)

Yeah, I was assuming that something could be done with the Power Pack. Although it would still be using the "real thing" (i.e. the interpreter is exactly what Sierra released), it does lock such a game out from the other platforms, of which there are quite a number (Amiga, Atari ST, Apple II, Mac, TRS CoCo, ...) and also the fan made interpreters. Still, it would be a nice "can we do it" challenge, and the end result, using the Power Pack, would prove that for the IBM PC interpreter, it could be done.

Has there historically been much of a community around the other platforms? We've been mostly focused on the IBM PC versions, and we do briefly mention the others (e.g. that Donald Duck's Playground version that is using the Amiga data files). I saw a post here about the CoCo games a while back. I don't think the Apple II ones (other than the early KQ1 and KQ2 releases) have been discussed much. It seems that Apple II supported all the main AGI games except for MH2. It even had GR and KQ4, which is quite impressive really, for the Apple II.

You could allow for more than 255 rooms relatively easily using standard AGI code. Use a variable to track a 'page' value; each page can then hold 255 rooms. When a new room is loaded, use the page number and currentRoom number to run the correct code. Depending on complexity of code, you might still be limited, trying to fit enough code for multiple pages into each logic.

I had similar thoughts around using something like a page, and also the potential limitations. There are some limitations, like memory constraints, that the original interpreter will have that the fan made interpreters do not. So this is the reverse of the earlier comment relating to the Power Pack, where this time it could end up being the fan made interpreters that it works on and perhaps not the original interpreter. It would have to be carefully tracked and managed. I don't think a game like Time Zone has much to do in each location. I think that all these locations were mostly to show off that they could include so many pictures in one game.

The priority screen option wouldn't really work, because when it's shown, the interpreter pauses the game. Without a hack of some kind, you couldn't interact with the priority screen.

That's a shame. I hadn't thought about that. Yeah, you're right. It waits for a key to be hit. I guess it could only be used in scenarios where the player is looking at something up close maybe, some situation where it makes sense.

Offline Collector

Re: 1400 pictures?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2023, 10:49:42 AM »
If all else fails you could try to divide them up into multiple games with each one as a "chapter". A save game could be used to transfer information between chapters.
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