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Old 12 January 2020, 05:04   #1
psoma
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Ancient Art of War English conversion? (Was ST to Amiga conversion)

Thought I'd gone my entire life without finding something I wanted to play on the Atari ST that wasn't as good or better on the Amiga, but today I have - Ancient Art of War (the original - not In The Skies). And that's mainly because there *isn't* an Amiga port...

So what does it take to port an ST game to the Amiga?!?

Last edited by psoma; 14 January 2020 at 22:28.
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Old 12 January 2020, 10:33   #2
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Quote:
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Thought I'd gone my entire life without finding something I wanted to play on the Atari ST that wasn't as good or better on the Amiga, but today I have - Ancient Art of War (the original - not In The Skies). And that's mainly because there *isn't* an Amiga port...

So what does it take to port an ST game to the Amiga?!?
If the game fits in RAM, you can initialize an Amiga screen then load the binary blob into memory, with writes to the ST's framebuffer patched to write to Amiga bitplanes instead. Any writes to the sound chip have to be removed. If you're ambitious you can replace those with your own code to make noise on the Amiga. Reads from mouse/keyboard must be patched to a handler that handles Amiga human input.

If the game loads from disk you have to patch the entire I/O code of the game. This is more work. The really experienced guys here can recognize this and have an existing codebase to work with. If the game loads code in addition to simple stuff like graphics data it gets a LOT more complex.

If the game interfaces with TOS/GEM on a more than superficial level you have to patch in code to interface appropriately and you start to approach Wine levels of complexity.
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Old 12 January 2020, 13:07   #3
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I read: "Ancient Art of War Atari ST vs Amiga"
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Old 12 January 2020, 19:47   #4
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Apparently there are French and Spanish Versions for the Amiga.

Last edited by Nobby_UK; 13 January 2020 at 18:27.
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Old 12 January 2020, 21:21   #5
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The spanish version is on the ftp, a CTRAW dump by niobyte: /~Uploads/niobyte/CT-RAW/Games/CTRAW/The_Ancient_Art_Of_War-DroSoft-CTRAW.zip

Have created an ADF from it and zoned it to see if anyone wants to tackle an English translation

Loading this, it appears to have a Data Disk? If you load the game, click 'Modificar' then select the first or second icon (didn't click any others) it asks: Inserta el disco de DATOS, Pulsa una tecla (Google translate: Insert the DATA disk, press a key)!!

So is this DATA disk something you make or was there an actual data disk released?
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Old 12 January 2020, 22:29   #6
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I read: "Ancient Art of War Atari ST vs Amiga"
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Old 12 January 2020, 22:35   #7
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Thanks all,

Yeah, a translation will certainly be easier to deal with. Especially as there is virtually zero dialogue once the game has started!

I’d like to give it a crack, but don’t really know where to start with decompiling and recompiling - are there any tools/guides and I can take it from there?

As for the Data Disk, I seem to recall that this was there in the PC version too - it’s a long time ago now, but I believe it was for later expansion rather than a necessary part of the game.

Cheers,

Tom
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Old 12 January 2020, 22:54   #8
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Seems the IBM PC DOS version can be used as a basis for a conversion. If you take the following files from the PC EGA version (found on My Abandonware) and copy them over the Amiga version you can get the Titles and intro texts working:

The 11 'T' files T0 to TA and the TITLES file!

The 'O' files are not compatible, they seem to be arranged different and crash the program

There is also text in the main 'war.prg' exe file that will need translating and probably some picture files so they have English in them, but no idea which files hold the picture data.

Anyone willing to have a look if they think it's worth it?
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Old 13 January 2020, 00:22   #9
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Hah, brilliant man!

Will have a crack myself tonight and see what we can cobble together...

Cheers!

Tom
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Old 14 January 2020, 09:56   #10
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Well... I didn’t get any further (though I did learn a bit about CT RAW images in the process). I think it might be easier to learn Spanish....
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Old 14 January 2020, 19:29   #11
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Seems the IBM PC DOS version can be used as a basis for a conversion. If you take the following files from the PC EGA version (found on My Abandonware) and copy them over the Amiga version you can get the Titles and intro texts working:

The 11 'T' files T0 to TA and the TITLES file!

The 'O' files are not compatible, they seem to be arranged different and crash the program

There is also text in the main 'war.prg' exe file that will need translating and probably some picture files so they have English in them, but no idea which files hold the picture data.
Must be the endian format of the processor?!?!

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Well... I didn’t get any further (though I did learn a bit about CT RAW images in the process). I think it might be easier to learn Spanish....
The WHDLoad crew should be able to do it? Or would you prefer the floppy version?
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Old 14 January 2020, 19:48   #12
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I had created an unreleased whdload version of AAOW (french) moons ago. Maybe it could be translated to English? Much better than porting it from another platform…
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Old 14 January 2020, 20:32   #13
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Originally Posted by psoma View Post
Thought I'd gone my entire life without finding something I wanted to play on the Atari ST that wasn't as good or better on the Amiga, but today I have - Ancient Art of War (the original - not In The Skies). And that's mainly because there *isn't* an Amiga port...

So what does it take to port an ST game to the Amiga?!?
What confused me about your first post is that the Atari ST, from all accounts, only had a French version of the game released for it. True? However, you then went on to talk about an Amiga port of the English version.

How well did you get on playing the French Atari ST version then? Does the game have a lot of foreign language text that makes it difficult for most non-native speakers to enjoy and work out how to play it?!

Quote:
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I had created an unreleased whdload version of AAOW (french) moons ago. Maybe it could be translated to English? Much better than porting it from another platform…
Sounds about right! The most suitable version for porting would probably be the Mac version, but the graphics in the Mac release are monochrome (d'oh!).
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Old 14 January 2020, 21:56   #14
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Hey Dr Bong,

Yeah, fair question: it was the (CGA) PC version of this game that I played copiously growing up. After getting back into the Amiga recently, I was hunting down as many cruddy CGA games as I could in the hope there were vastly improved Amiga versions available. I consulted Wikipedia on AAOW and it referenced an Atari ST version but no Amiga version (I’ve since amended this) - after a quick search failed to turn up any ADFs or WHDs I concluded Wikipedia was correct. Not having or wanting to bother with ST emulation I didn’t investigate it further to realise its version was French only however.

Long story short: am pleased to hear the Amiga isn’t missing out on something the ST had, but would still love to play this version of AAOW in my native tongue!

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Old 14 January 2020, 22:01   #15
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I'm french so I can translate the game with a whdload option. Of course if some texts are bitmaps, I'm not going to do that. Well, that is possible, but needs more work.

I remember why I didn't release the install: because I was waiting for an English version to show up
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Old 14 January 2020, 22:35   #16
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Can an English floppy version be made?
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Old 14 January 2020, 22:44   #17
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if the data is compressed, that's slightly trickier. I remember that the game used DOS tracks, but not sure if it uses files. Doable, but more tedious with floppy.

Anyway I have to dig my old work
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Old 14 January 2020, 23:01   #18
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I remember why I didn't release the install: because I was waiting for an English version to show up
Hahah, fair enough. The PC version certainly seems to contain the same text (if not necessarily stored in the same file format - you can open the war.dat file and see a fair bit stored in plain text). Looks like there are images in the Amiga version though replacing text for some action during gameplay, but they are in the minority.

Out of curiosity - how does WHDLoad make a translation simpler?
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Old 18 January 2020, 12:04   #19
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whdload can patch files on the fly, even if some files are crunched, no need to unpack/patch and repack them (with a possible non available repacker for instance).

In the case of AAOW, the data isn't compressed. The text seems to come in various small files like O1, O2, ... I'd like to get the files of the english Atari ST version, if the format is identical that will be a bingo.

Resumed work on that one. Got the game loading & running, protection check ... ahem ... fixed and other small fixes that I first did in 2005... There's a data disk I have to understand how it's used. Seems to be NDOS.

Some features seem to be linked to this second/data disk. I'm not familiar at all with this game and it looks complex with a lot of modes. I may release a beta here just for you to test at some point.
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Old 18 January 2020, 14:47   #20
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Seems the English ST version is very difficult to find on the web, it doesn't appear to be in TOSEC or other Atari download sites!!
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