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MrFlibble

Dune 2 eXtended Project

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MrFlibble    114

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Dune 2 eXtended is a spin-off of the Dune II mod, Super Dune 2. Just like SD2, Dune 2 eXtended allows to command the "new" factions: the Mercenaries, the Fremen and the Sardaukar.

The mod is aimed at providing lots of new content from new graphics to a completely new storyline stretching across 3 campaigns. The ultimate goal of the project is to fully exploit the abilities of Dune II, and make a game that is enjoyable and challenging to play. The entire to-do list includes:

  • new menu graphics
  • new animated Mentat screens
  • new briefings and Mentat information
  • new campaigns with various missions
  • scenario, AI and other fixes

Currently, the following features are completed:

  • main menu title screen
  • side selection screen
  • "Do you want to join side X?" dialogue
  • faction profile/introduction text
  • new player ranking system that uses the actual rank names from the book, instead of all those "desert mongooses" and the like
  • fully animated Fremen and Sardaukar Mentat screens ("recycled" images from Cryo's Dune)
  • new planet/herald images for all new sides
  • a fully playable Demo campaign
  • modified tech trees and new units
  • a more powerful AI
  • new briefings and Mentat descriptions (in progress)

Downloads:
DUNEX129.ZIP DuneXSavegames.rar
Alternate download links:
Dune 2 eXtended Project v1.29 Dune 2 eXtended Savegames (Project Perfect Mod)

DUNEX129.ZIP DuneXSavegames.rar (Nyerguds' website)

The demo shows most of the current features in the project, and has a fully playable campaign. Note that to play, you'll need Dune II v1.07 (any release). Further installation instructions are in the readme file included in the package.

Check the screenshots below for some visuals:

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More screenshots at the Dune 2 eXtended Gallery.

Special thanks
I'd like to thank the following people who helped me a lot with project development (in alphabetical order):

Thanks guys! :D

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nemafakei    6

"Fremen Mentat screen (uses Stilgar image from Cryo's Dune)"

Haha, interesting; I'm currently playing around with the same, trying to create some high-res images for D2TM.

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MrFlibble    114

Here are some more screenshots, showing the Fremen and Sardaukar Mentats (formerly Stilgar and Duncan Idaho ;)), as well as a pic of factions intro images (which will only be implemented if I get a Dune 2 WSA converter ::)). Note the parts of the old Ordos and Harkonnen mentats' facial animations in the top left corner of the screen. Hopefully I will be able to create SHP files in the future and create fully animated Mentats.

EDIT: The mentat screens were fixed, see my post with newer screenies below.

EDIT: All screenshots mentioned here were updated and included in the title post.

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Very nice going. Tweaking the original Dune II. Thats a very cool thing to do. And i think it must be a painful process of trail and error. But the results are very nice!

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MrFlibble    114

And i think it must be a painful process of trail and error. But the results are very nice!

Trial and error, yes, but luckily not much toil for now - all the graphics I've modified are stored in CPS files, which are more than successfully converted by XCC Mixer; the SHPs and WSAs are going to be tough however, as there are seemingly no editing/converting programs yet. I might have to look into XCC source code and remember what little C/C++ skills I've learned at school :O

Now I'm going to turn to campaign editing (mostly using Dunedit, I think ;)), and squeeze the maximum out of it. I plan to introduce as much mission variety as possible and balance the difficulty level (e.g. Sardaukar mission 1 in SD2 is way more difficult than that of Mercenaries).

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MrFlibble    114

Yes, 320x200, exactly as in Dune 2, and like in most old DOS games...

BTW, I forgot to mention that the map selection screenshot shows the initial positions of all six sides on the map, which will define the course of each campaign. I'm going to have initial alliances between each two factions (Atreides+Fremen, Harkonnen+Sardaukar, Ordos+Mercenaries), however, only the Atreides and Fremen alliance will work both when you play as Fremen and as other sides. But I'll try to avoid conflicts between the potential allies as long as possible (e.g. if playing as the Mercenaries, the missions where Ordos are an enemy will be only closer to the end of the game - around missions 7-8).

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MrFlibble    114

I have invented a way to remove old Mentat facial animations, so that new Mentat screens are functional, although not animated... yet. (see screenshots) I'm rewriting the campaigns, which is quite a slow process, and maybe will release some levels as a demo once there's something decent to show.

Say has anyone ever considered giving the cpu a turn to strike back? like in Emperor?

Well, this can be simulated in the map selection screen by giving some of the player's territories back to an AI player and then allowing the player to attack these "captured" regions (as a plot twist, so to say). But making this a regularity (as in Emperor) is virtually impossible because of the 9 mission limit.

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Beonid    0

Would it be possible to have the Fremen controlling the sandworms in some of the missions? I remember that I once managed to control the sandworms by editing the scenario.pak file. The problem was, the only thing you could do was attack an area of ground. You may be able to change that, though.

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Grimbringer    0

Well, nothings virtually impossible.  Yeah i've seen worms under control in this game before, can't quite remember where though.  I would have to say that it unbalances the game when you place the worm in control, maybe if the health bar was reduced on a controlled worm. 

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MrFlibble    114

Sandworms are indeed controllable in some missions in the original Super Dune 2, but IMHO they are quite useless. The sandworm AI differs from that of any regular playable unit, meaning that sandworms behave on their own. They have four attack buttons on the command panel, but tend to move around on their own; after a sandworm is issued an attack order (from one of the four buttons ;)) there's a 1-1,5 second delay before it moves to attack its target. Also, sandworms prefer to attack the player's units rather than the computer-owned ones, and will eventually disappear after 3-4 "meals". Worms wounded into yellow or red (actually you'll never beat a worm into red, only if you've got a pre-placed one with 1% health) will disappear after one hit. I think I'll remove controlled worms from the game: they are not suited for being playable, and I'm not going to mess with the executable to edit them.

Currently I'm editing the mentat*.eng files, with some success.

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MrFlibble    114

I've decided to have a shot at editing the game executable in an attempt to fix some issues with the "new" sides, however, I lack experience in this area, so maybe some of you more knowledgeable and programming-oriented guys might help me out? I'd like to know how to find out which parts of the executable correspond to which aspects of the game. Is it a process of randomly modifying the executable until the desired results are achieved, or are there some debugging or other tools that analyse or monitor program execution and allow to establish links between parts of code and game events?

Any help, links, info and other stuff will be appreciated.

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MrFlibble    114

For those who have shown interest in the project, I haven't dropped it. I simply haven't had any time for it for a while, but hopefully I'll have some in the nearest future, so stay tuned ;)

By the way, you could still keep the thread active by posting your ideas and suggestions on the project. Or, maybe it should go completely the other way? Or does it lack enough attractive

features in its current state to be worth continuing? Come on all you Dune 2 fans, feel free to express your opinions here!

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jordos    0

Hey do continue this, though the dune2 fanbase is probably rather small I'm sure those that remain would LOVE to see this project fully finished! (I know I would :) )

No new ideas, the way you're heading now seems fine to me, love the new art :D Will you design all new missions or mainly re-use the sd2 ones?

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MrFlibble    114

Hello jordos, nice to hear that you like the project ;D I actually plan to create new campaigns complete with briefings and a little bit more diverse mission objectives (like having to take over an enemy's base or defending a pre-built base from enemy attacks - basically, things more close to Command & Conquer Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, as far as the game engine will allow). This part of the job will only take time and some imagination, but I also would like to fix certain bugs that occur because the "new" sides in SD2 were not intended to be playable. For example, the Sardaukar and Mercenaries cannot build their bases properly because their concrete blocks are somehow not treated as player-owned buildings by the game, hence you cannot deploy full concrete foundations for buildings and properly plan your base at all. Fremen and Mercenary positions on the tactical map are not "remembered" by the game and do not appear on the map after a mission completed or restarted. Also, all the new sides have the identical Atreides ending cutscene after the last mission. Fixing all these issues would require extensive knowledge of executable editing (or whatever), or lots of time for trial-and-error experiments, both of which I don't have ATM.

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jordos    0

Cool, looking forward to seeing the campaigns in action!

Yeah I'm aware of the bugs in sd2 and the pain that comes with hex editing :) (I'm working on an exe editor for xcom apocalypse myself) . If I ever find the time (and motivation!) I'll look into it, though I don't know anything about the dune2 files and fixing those bugs sounds a bit harder than simple unit stats editing, for example. Don't know if it even can be done with plain hex editing?

Anyways, best of luck with the project!

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MrFlibble    114

Thanks! BTW, I've got a unit stats editor that changes values in Dune2.exe, but I don't know if it can be of any use for more specific editing purposes (except it may be helpful in locating where unit data is stored in the executable, and possibly how unit ownership is defined).

Maybe you can suggest some tools other that a hex-editor that could be of any use? Ideally, it would be some tracking program that could record which parts of the executable are being accessed during the game, so correspondences between parts of the code and in-game events could be established ::)

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jordos    0

Wouldn't know of any tools that can do that I'm afraid.

Yeah the unit stats editor probably won't help too much in solving those problems, but hey, gotta start somewhere :)

For the base building (the most serious problem IMO) the best way to discover what's going wrong would probably be finding where the building data is stored in saved games and compare the differences between concrete blocks/buildings owned by the Sards&Mercs and those owned by other players?

edit: does the unit stat editor also contain building stats?

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ant222    0

Maybe you can suggest some tools other that a hex-editor that could be of any use? Ideally, it would be some tracking program that could record which parts of the executable are being accessed during the game, so correspondences between parts of the code and in-game events could be established ::)

What you need is a debugger — a tool that lets you monitor (or trace) an executable instruction by instruction. But it's all on the assmebly level... (Except for stuff like GoBug - If don't confuse anything)

All hackers use debuggers ;)

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MrFlibble    114

@ jordos:

The Dune 2 stats editor indeed allows to edit both units and buildings. However, the unplayable factions are not mentioned in the editor at all, as you can only select Atreides, Harkonnen and Ordos as the unit/building owners. It is either that the Mercenary, Fremen and Sardaukar simply "mirror" the respective playable Houses, or the editor designer didn't bother to include the option to modify the unplayable sides' tech trees. This can be defined through some research I believe.

@ant222:

What debugger would you suggest to use for Dune 2 under Windows?

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ant222    0

MrFlibble: I know nothing of that matters. Though, upon a superficial look, I'd suggest OllyDbg.

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MrFlibble    114

Well I guess I'll eventually find a fitting program to do the job, once I'm in the right mood. Currently I'm feeling too lazy to do anything systematically. Thanks anyway :)

EDIT: ant222, I've read some info about OllyDbg and now I see why you recommended it, I'll certainly check it out 8)

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