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Rewriting Cryo's Dune 1 : it seems possible !!!


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EDIT :

Latest news of the project: read this post

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ORIGINAL POST :

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this post was first written in threads

http://dune2k.com/forum/index.php?topic=7565.60

and

http://dune2k.com/forum/index.php?topic=7565.90 )

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Hello all.

I'm only interested in Dune 1, and I read with greater interest your posts, especially the ones concerning Louis (up)

It's right, it will be almost impossible to convice EA to release Source Code. Not only because of the licenses concerning Dune, but mostly because all major comapnies won't ever release any source code when they know it could possibly bring money (there are some exceptions like ID Software, but this is rare...)  ...and Dune games are Gold. Especially now, with the new mobile-phones games and mobile-consoles games. The Bitmap Brothers are earning money with their old Speedball2 on Nokia !!!

I'm totally ready to start over from scratch, rewriting the whole game, even if it's totally illegal (it's not illegal in itself, because you can still pretend that it's for real possessors of the old game so that they can continue to play with it on modern computers - but it will become illegal as soon as EA says "STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!")

Anyway, it's worth trying to begin an open-source project.

The real problem is : HOW TO READ FROM ANCIENT FILE FORMATS?

With no original source code available, it will be very difficult to read from bitmap/sprites/music files, without knowing their internal structure, probably compressed/modified using Cryo utilities.

Any idea?

Do you know of any ancient "graphics/music modifier/extractor for Dune1", made by a fan of the game?

We could convince him to realease his source code!

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***********************************************

this post was first written in threads

http://dune2k.com/forum/index.php?topic=7565.60

and

http://dune2k.com/forum/index.php?topic=7565.90 )

***********************************************

I managed to know more about the file formats used in Dune 1...

Well, it seems to be real archeology (very exciting!), but there are remaining clues.

By searching on the web, i found this page : http://sorry.vse.cz/~roman/dimension/rdos/rdosplay/

This is the page of an utility called "rdosplay", designed to play the music of ancient video games on our PC's.

I tried the utility, it still works on my WinXP using VDMS.

This page also deals with Dune's SDB and AGD files (music files).. But what is MUCH MORE important is that it reveals that .HSQ files (almost all files in the game are .HSQ) are compressed files, just like .ZIP or .RAR.

The only problem is that the utility UNHSQ (used to unzip) only seems to have existed on some old mini-computers that were running the ancient O.S. "RDOS"

So, now, there are two manners to find a way to unzip those HSQ files :

1/ Find back the guy who wrote that rdosplay utility, and ask him to give us the source code of the internal "unhsq" used in rdosplay.

2/ Make some archeology in the RDOS documentation, and find a geek to rewrite an unhsq (or maybe find the original one! maybe a PC version of unhsq exists!)

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***********************************************

this post was first written in threads

http://dune2k.com/forum/index.php?topic=7565.60

and

http://dune2k.com/forum/index.php?topic=7565.90 )

***********************************************

I found the email adress of that RDOS guy back from the old website (rdos is at the same time the name of the old OS and the nick of the demomaker who wrote rdosplay - you still follow me? :-D)

At this time, only 2 addresses out of 5 seem to be fucked.

I hope the other ones will work, and that they are still read often! (the site seems not to have been updated since 1997!)

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Rdosplay (the utility containing the last known source code performing the "unhsq" operation, essential for reading the Dune files) has recently been seen in ZDoom (the open-source OpenGL-based Doom).

This proves that the coder is still alive and active =) (and that the sources haven't been lost)

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This is a real archeology. There was a DOS program specially playing D1 music, so that code was already broken. Pictures could be prtsced and similar concept of game was used thousand times. Really, why not make a new one?

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There was a DOS program specially playing D1 music

Which one?

Why not make a new one ?

As i wrote, this is precisely what i attempt to do.

But pictures shouldn't be PrintScreened because there are a lot of "palettes work" in this game (to render many wonderful sunrise effects) and other weird visual effects.

This can't be PrintScreened !

And anyway it's better to have the game strictly the same, because in this game the atmosphere/immersion is the most important point (the tactical/RPG aspects are poor, i think you will agree with me :-D)

So, to conclude :

YES, i want to remake it all

but i ALSO want to extract the original artwork.

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So you're saying you want to make something like SCUMMVM for Dune?

1. You need some dune interested format-hackers to (make a program to) extract graphics into a common format like bmp.

2. You need programmers to make a new game engine.

3. You need graphical artists wich can correct/improve parts of the graphics for your new engine.

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So you're saying you want to make something like SCUMMVM for Dune?

yep. That's correct. A kind of emulator using original data files.

This will allow to (for example) create a Dune applet running on any internet page!

1. You need some dune interested format-hackers to (make a program to) extract graphics into a common format like bmp.?

If you didn't notice, this is exactly what i'm trying to do  :)

2. You need programmers to make a new game engine.

I'm a skilled one (for example i'm one of the original conceptors of the "mappi chapo" project : https://mappychapo.dev.java.net/ ) I'll look for other programmers as soon as i manage to read those bloody ancestral HSQ files  >:(

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http://sorry.vse.cz/~roman/dimension/rdos/rdosplay/

At this page, as you probalby has found before me:

SDB (Herad system - DUNE / KGB games)

These files are used in DUNE game. Look in game's directory and search for *.SDB or *.AGD files. These are HSQ-packed. You can unpack them with UNHSQ (RDOS production) or use them as they are. RdosPlay has internal HSQ unpacker and recognizes both packed or unpacked modules. *.AGD files have to be played on OPL-3 stereo music chip (that's why /s parameter doesn't work with them), *.SDB are for standard AdLib (OPL-2) card.

That means there is a UNHSQ tool somewhere... just to start looking. Or trance the developer so he can send you the information.

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Which one?

As i wrote, this is precisely what i attempt to do.

But pictures shouldn't be PrintScreened because there are a lot of "palettes work" in this game (to render many wonderful sunrise effects) and other weird visual effects.

This can't be PrintScreened !

And anyway it's better to have the game strictly the same, because in this game the atmosphere/immersion is the most important point (the tactical/RPG aspects are poor, i think you will agree with me :-D)

So, to conclude :

YES, i want to remake it all

but i ALSO want to extract the original artwork.

You can try to make an own sunrise render with any 3D editing programm, while using 2D art as ie texture. You have found that music player? Because I can't now any more  :-

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VidiWare... You don't seem to pay much attention...  ;D

You rewrite everything i wrote ! (up)  ;)

Just kidding, of course

I'll fix my attiention problems... ::)

Sorry, was to rushed to find a soltion to such a exciting topic. Spent a lot of time looking for unhsq, no luck.

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Sorry for the double post, but I really think they're so seperate that I won't edit the first:

Just HOW interested are you guys in the RDOS-team? I could probably contact two of their "bulletin-boards" managers wich are from Norway:

Jan Erling Kvam and Roy Arne Solberg (found their telephone number at the site and found the name at www.gulesider.no)

What exactly do you want to ask them?

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Just HOW interested are you guys in the RDOS-team? I could probably contact two of their "bulletin-boards" managers wich are from Norway: Jan Erling Kvam and Roy Arne Solberg

What exactly do you want to ask them?

Two questions to ask :

1/ Has UNHSQ really something to do with the RDOS OS ? (be sure that i just didn't make a confusion with the nickname of that RDOS guy)

2/ Is there a DOS version of unhsq? / Can any source code of any version be found somewhere ???

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You can try to make an own sunrise render with any 3D editing programm, while using 2D art as ie texture.

What i meant by "palette effects" is the use of that ancient technology that was the 256 colors palette...

It was used to obtain what was called "palette scrolls"... the colors were slowly sliding from one to another...it's really particular technologically AND visually... It could be done again with 3D gfx, but it would be really useless (as we say in French : 'it would be using a hammer to kill a fly') :-D

Nevertheless, the use of the AGS adventure-game engine would certainly be a very good idea (i know that you have already discovered it and tried it)

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the palette technlogogy aint ancient at all. Even today you can simply create a game using a 256 palette.

What i meant by "ancient" was that nobody uses this technology for years (since colors are RGB-coded).

But of course, it's still very easy to use it because most graphical systems (OpenGL, SDL, even AGS) propose it.

But if i was going to do a rewrite of dune 1, i would use a 16 bit palette, makes the sunrise a lot more beautifull!

Is it a crime to remake a game strictly the same?  ;)

Using 16 or 32 bit colors will only enhance the gradient (one won't see colors separations), but it won't allow to find back what sets of colors where used in the palette-scroll (pink then green then blue...)

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i think its easy to reproduce since:

- you only need 2 or 3 colors (rgb values):

- on top of screen

- on horizon

- in between

- create some code that makes it nicely 'gradient'

- further more, create some easy 'transform into color x, y, z' function which is easy to do too.

Ofcourse if you want to go all the way and make an exact clone, you're free to do so, however i think it would give a  much nicer effect in higher bit depths (since you can increase resolution and also have a much more fluid skyline).

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i think its easy to reproduce since:

(...)

I know all that  ;) I'm an old-school programmer.

But let's concentrate on that HSQ problem yet, i'd really like to solve this problem first.

Then we shall see the other technical questions  8)

Maybe I could excite some of the fans with this idea : What if we find some "hidden extra pictures that don't appear in the game" in the HSQ files? Just the way some fans discovered such hidden pictures in Monkey Island's files (see the "Mix n' Mojo" website)

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