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Topics - Nikita_Sadkov

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Offtopic / Another Classic Game Got Reverse Engineered
« on: April 06, 2019, 10:23:44 pm »
This time it is Magic Carpet:

Like most games of its time it was way ahead of its time  :D

Offtopic / XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« on: January 03, 2019, 12:37:07 am »
Hi, folks! I'm working on an XCOM inspired fantasy game. It is not a carbon copy, and the most striking difference is that I don't use RNG, leading to numerous different design decisions. For example, instead of chance to hit, to penetrate high defense armor, attacker has to spend action points. This allows for example using some at first glance useless unit, with a lot of action points, like say bird, to distract defender, while slow heavy hitter does the damage. The next difference is the shift towards spellcasting and terraforming map. For example, if player has imp worker, it can dig underground passage into a prison under castle, free inmates there and then attack the castle from underneath. The other way would be flying over moat (with flight spell or flying creatures), teleport there, pass through walls with wraiths (which also see through walls), create elevation to reach castle wall. Obviously, player can just storm the heavy guarded front gate.

The game engine also supports portals and large doors (you cant have a proper castle with puny little door). And AI uses them too.

Still the game borrows a lot of elements from Gollop's games, especially Lords of Chaos and XCOM. I.e. there is chryssalid style monsters and a raise dead spell producing undead units, which are very resistant to non-enhanced attacks. The game has a world map, invasion threat and randomly generated maps (cities, dungeons, etc...), but I also plan adding ability to play as bad guys instead.

Do you have any suggestions or wishes for such a game? For example, what do you think should happen if two units teleport into the same place or if unit tries to teleport into the fog of war ends up teleporting into a wall? For now, just strongest unit survives (i.e. the wall).

Offtopic / Open Source Fallout Tactics
« on: December 06, 2015, 12:55:39 pm »
Did you knew about ???

Fallout Tactics was basically an X-Com clone, with evil AI instead of aliens.

Programming / Field of Vision
« on: December 06, 2015, 11:32:11 am »
How did the original X-Com managed to calculated field of vision back in 1994? The only way I know is spherecasting - an expensive calculation to do in realtime.

Programming / Magic & Mayhem Engine Open Source Clone
« on: August 30, 2015, 04:07:37 pm »
Hi, folks!

Besides X-COM, there is another game using very similar and powerful isometric engine (among the most advanced to my knowledge) by the same designer (Julian Gollop). The game is Magic & Mayhem, based of Lords of Chaos - an old Amiga game.

The game has a lot of issues, due to the publisher interfering with developers and enforcing the usual christmas deadline (November release date speaks for itself). Running the game modern computer is pain too (although I've succeeded running it on OSX with PlayOnMac, after disabling opengl). Maybe now is the time to fix it and bring back to life as an open source project?

Most game data resides as open text in *.cfg files, but a some things are hidden under binary and few *.cfgs are encrypted, which is solved with waiting for the engine to decrypt them and then just dumping them from memory.

Tinkered a little with Magic & Mayhem engine (without using any debugger) gets some knowledge on how to decode binary data (I've successfully decoded all sprites), but unfortunately not the most interesting thing, which is the map encryption algorithm, required to get factual knowledge of how maps are stored and rendered.

Algorithm decoding CFG files would be nice too, because distributing decoded files would be copyright infringement.

Does anybody know how to decode *.map files?

I'll share with you my Magic & Mayhem engine facts and guesses:
- All map tiles are 64x48 (with light source coming from the southwest), where 16 pixels are used for height. There are no wall or floor tiles, like in X-Com style engines.
- Map is drawn in layers, using either priority queue or zbuffer.
- Water is procedurally generated between layers, as specified by `WaterLevel` variable in level files.
- Creatures have width/height size (TileSizeXY) and TileHeight, which determine their blocking profile and when they drown (water level gets past their height).
- Creatures move on grid lattice (directly using mapping to 64x32 tiles tops), like in older RTS games (Warcraft and Starcraft). Creatures can move only 8 directions, which is especially noticeable with flyers, where bat flies in zig-zag.
- Non-creature game objects (like trees and doors) are made completely out of tiles. Quote from doors.cfg "Terrain tiles need to be assigned a door number, the tile numbers that make up the door are listed [...] along with the animations for the door opening and closing"
- Game maps files (*.map) inside ./Realms appear to be compressed using the same algorithm as the txt files inside of ./CFG/Encrypted folder. The *.nod files are not compressed, but I guess they hold something like precomputed movement maps for AI.
- Due to the rhomboidal minimap shape, the map format appears to be rhomboidal too. So the Y-axis is diagonal to the viewport (like in X-com), as opposed to the vertical successive Y's, in games like Civilization II. The map is also toroidal, meaning that its west edge transitions into it's east edge, Pacman-style ( )
- The map drawing algorithm can be copied from: which should give correct occlusion for a world made of arbitrary bounding boxes. I.e. projectiles and spells like tornado will render correctly.
- the lightmaps are implemented by simply altering the tile and creature brightness. Fog of war appears to be more complex.
- The sprite format used for creatures and tilesets is described in
- "It was designed first as a multiplayer game and we sort of retrofitted the single-player experience, so it didn’t work so well unfortunately, for me." -- Julian Gollop

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