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Author Topic: Crusader: No Remorse  (Read 8433 times)
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Weatherproof
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2010, 08:09:20 PM »

Yeah, I'm using the command line one as well.  I guess I'll just have to leave it running for awhile and see what i can get out of it!
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Maxim
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2010, 01:39:59 AM »

PNGOUT loops over the image, each time it compresses it it gets a bit smaller. When it stops getting smaller, it stops. So watch the "subtraction" figure, and wait for it to get to zero. Due to the way it works, PNG compression takes a huge amount of time on large images.

Image editors allow one to reduce a true-colour image to paletted using "diffusion" which gives a speckled appearance in return for better reproduction of the colours compared to other reduction methods. It looks like this game's art was compressed using this technique. The telltale sign is that the dithering is the same for the same "part" in different places, a whole-image dither wouldn't achieve that.

I'm not sure I see the problem with http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/8872/crusader076.png ...
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 01:40:51 AM by Maxim » Logged
Weatherproof
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2010, 06:29:02 AM »

Oh so the problem with that picture is just that I can't really get good screenshots of the areas that are outside the normal areas of play, it would be much much easier to make all inaccessible areas black.
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Peardian
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2010, 09:49:54 AM »

Oh, I think I see it. Is it the crazy "smearing" of the edge of the map in the top right corner? I'm not sure what you'd have to do about that other than getting in and manually cutting away the extra smearing.
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2010, 09:04:31 AM »

Good news:  The Saturn version now works on SSF

Bad news:  Everything is rendered in the sprite layer

Oh well, the graphics aren't quite as good as the PC version anyway.
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Weatherproof
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2010, 03:02:49 PM »

Yeah :\ the whole game is sprite based so it could run at a higher framerate, be better looking, and have destructible environments.  For it's time it was a real gem.  And if I'm not mistaken the graphics were rendered as needed, so the computer was only working on just the sprites that needed to change by the frame (the background would be rendered once when you enter the screen and not again until you re-center the camera again).
I can't seem to find an image download for the playstation version. I might have to buy a used copy off of amazon just to see if it'll work haha! An unused copy goes for about $95!
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2010, 05:37:35 AM »

A lot 2d Saturn games still use the layering features of the hardware.  I suppose they were just lazy in porting the PC code, which is typical of Saturn games unfortunately.
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Weatherproof
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2010, 08:43:58 AM »

Okay everybody,
After putting more hours into this, I'm realizing that this will be a huge project that I'm having trouble finding time for.  With the inability to disable sprites (which would probably make the screen black Tongue) and the sheer size of the maps, it's quite a hard project, so I may move on to another DOS game (maybe Jazz Jackrabbit or looking into the current Duke Nukem 2 maps).  I am going to upload the first level of crusader with all 4 floors but with NO editing with the sprites, just for fun (It'll be mostly like the pictures I have up now but with more completeness and black filling where inaccessible areas are). 
I really appreciate all your help and if there's an old DOS game that you would like me to work on let me know and I'll give it an attempt!
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Weatherproof
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« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2010, 06:39:46 PM »

So I'm finally done with what I'm going to call the "Macro" level of level 1-1 (level 1, floor 1) in Crusader.  So this picture is just the stitching of all the images together and the blacking out of the inaccessible areas.  The "Micro" level of this would be editing out every single sprite, patching things together, and overall making it pixel perfect.  I know it looks sloppy but I also know that this step would just not be worth it in terms of time/cost to benefit ratio. I don't know how many hours that I've put in this because I've lost count.  I do know that it took 166 png screenshots from Dosbox, the raw raster image is 239.4MB, the un-indexed PNG is 14MB, the resolution is 13356x6210, and GIMP doesn't seem to like big things and complicated processes Smiley
I might work on the next three floors of this first level, but it will be whenever I'm free and feel like it.
However, I really feel like I've learned a lot from this failed project, I feel a lot more comfortable with image manipulation programs.
Anyways, here's the link for the compressed, indexed png!
Enjoy!
http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/8684/crusader11.png

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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2010, 07:20:36 PM »

Considering the difficulties involved, you did an impressive job. Unfortunately, I don't think it would be feasible to map this game correctly unless someone were to program some sort of map extraction tool. Heck, just getting a single map up to "standards" would take so many hours of painstaking work that you'd get fed up before finishing. At any rate, you seem to like a challenge Smiley.

It's nice to mention how much you learn. I don't know how many screenshot maps you've done so far (is this your first one?) but it takes a while to get the hang of the various image programs and develop shortcuts for the various processes you go through. If this is indeed your first, then you're off to a great start!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 07:26:34 PM by TerraEsperZ » Logged

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DarkWolf
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« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2010, 07:33:18 PM »

Unfortunately, I don't think it would be feasible to map this game correctly unless someone were to program some sort of map extraction tool.

I was actually able to do half of the first floor without sprites or status bar overlays.  But it takes FOREVER.  I probably used 166 shots or more and I didn't even get as far as Weatherproof.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2010, 07:47:37 PM »

By "correctly" I actually meant being able to fully map the stages including all the portions that are off-screen. It's one of my pet peeve about isometric games; they often depict gorgeous worlds full of details and architecture but the game often prevents you from seeing a large part of it, most notably along the stage borders.

That reminds me... Does anyone knows how isometric games usually keep coordinates in memory? I mean, if I wanted to change the player's position, would a game use simple horizontal and vertical values, or would it use internal X and Y values corresponding to how those axes appear on screen, meaning diagonally? I'm thinking about future projects, maybe...
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Weatherproof
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« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2010, 09:15:26 PM »

Thanks for the support! Smiley
I'm guessing the coordinates would be stored as in X/Y.  There's a cheat that I discovered during the last couple of hours into it where you can enable cheats, turn on 'hack' mode, and move your character around the world.  I noticed that elevated areas are just different flat positions, like there's no Z axis at all, it's all tricking of the eye.  This doesn't mean that the game stores your position with X/Y coordinates, I just know it doesn't handle Z stuff. 
I also did some reading and noticed that the rendering is done with a 'dirty box' method, where only the parts of the screen that need updating get updated, which allowed the devs to get up to a reasonable framerate at 800x600 at the time.
I'm wondering how the maps themselves are stored.  I'm guessing each thing in the world is just a tile with some properties, imagine if the world was stored as just raw data! The game would probably be the size of a DVD. Tongue
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2010, 09:42:13 PM »

That's a cool find! I was actually reading up on that "Hack Mover" and how you could move objects with it, but you actually confirmed what I was hoping, that the player's avatar is considered an object too! Finding something like that while mapping an isometric game is one of the best thing ever! I hope this makes this project easier for you.
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2010, 12:54:41 PM »

There's a function to translate X,Y or X,Y,Z coordinates to an isometric projection.
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