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Old 17 December 2019, 19:17   #1
Sleeper Grey
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[factory] Eye of the Beholder III abomination fix

Hello All!

The object of this topic - Eye of the Beholder III - in not an Amiga game but well, there is no other way to finish
these famous game series. DOS version is the only one existing/working.

Long story short, I would need an encoding program for EoB-3 format pictures.
The decoding program for it (C++) and the format description already exist. Found here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20070114...s.com/eob3.bmp

Why the hell?
Games 1 & 2 had great portrait art. But SSI (beside other things) made "revised" portraits for EoB-3.
Some turned -completely dreadful-. Imagine your trusted party members turning into abomination!
Among these was the "Green Priestess", quite popular among the players. Some even gave her a nice cartoon rendering on Youtube, that's how popular she is



[ Show youtube player ]

This lady looked OK in EoB 1 & 2 but in game-3 is Ooch.
Please compare it:

Game 1-2




vs.
Game III



huge ugly face + a huge nose!

Looks like the biblical ~Abomination That Makes Desolate~...

What to do with it.
Changing a portrait like this in the game resource file is easy. But coding a new, nicer EoB-3 picture properly is a problem.

XWE editor can display all game pictures alongside with EoB-3 color palette and a possibility to alter the picture.
But there's NO saving in the correct EoB-3 compressed format.

One can take a "true" EoB-3 portrait from the EYE.RES resource file and place it back replacing some other EoB-3 portrait, this would work.
But any portrait edited with XWE can -not- be displayed by the game. (Blackness is shown instead of a portrait.)

I have made a nice picture based on EoB-1 game, in XWE with EoB-3 color palette.

XWE can save it as standard .bmp and it looks much better.


Like this:




Update: Now, in EoB-III style!

I'm no professional pixel artist but I had some practice and the official "art" is just so bad one can not go wrong here.

Any help to convert it into EoB-3 format as per the link below?

https://web.archive.org/web/20070114...s.com/eob3.bmp

Please come on, as ruining the portraits ruins -all- the game. Correcting them will make it better.


P.S.

I have a correct 30x31 resolution .bmp made with EoB-3 color palette. It should convert into EoB-3 format perfectly.

Last edited by Sleeper Grey; 17 January 2020 at 22:08. Reason: Update!
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Old 17 December 2019, 21:54   #2
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Hi,
if you found motivated C++ coder.

Your can found source code of the engine (AESOP/32) used for EOB3 here:
https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=20601

With source code perhaps C++ specialist can adapt it for amiga...

for information game engine of EOB3 & data structures are différents of EOB1,EOB2 or Lands Of Lore.

Last edited by CFOU!; 18 December 2019 at 00:37.
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Old 17 December 2019, 22:56   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper Grey View Post
The object of this topic - Eye of the Beholder III - in not an Amiga game but well, there is no other way to finish these famous game series.
While this sub-forum was initially related mostly to EOB 1&2, it has evolved in a sort of new Amiga games creation/modification sub-forum.

This thread would be probably more appropriate in Retrogaming General Discussion and would probably have more visibility there.
I'll move it tomorrow unless some people have a different opinion on the matter.
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Old 17 December 2019, 23:06   #4
Sleeper Grey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CFOU! View Post
Hi,
if you found modivated C++ coder.

Your can found source code of the engine (AESOP/32) used for EOB3 here:
https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=20601
Thank you so much for the addition!

Heck, Mr. JackAsser said this "bmp" format is pretty easy...
He also made the format description.

How easy exactly, it remains to be seen.
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Old 17 December 2019, 23:13   #5
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Just noticing there are MORE awful portraits in EotB-III.

Like a hobbit/halfling turned into an (ugly) half-elf in Game III...

Or another halfling getting huge head like a human.

Firing the artist (who obviously worked hard for games 1-2) was a bad move by SSI.


P.S. I could take it upon myself to fix the worst EoB-3 portraits (using EoB-1 originals as a base).
But I need the converter program...

Last edited by Sleeper Grey; 17 December 2019 at 23:24. Reason: (update)
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Old 18 December 2019, 00:34   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilalurl View Post
This thread would be probably more appropriate in Retrogaming General Discussion and would probably have more visibility there.
I'll move it tomorrow unless some people have a different opinion on the matter.
Yes agreed; there is no "Eye of the Beholder 3" on the Amiga so this discussion is best suited in the Retrogaming General Discussion section, on an Amiga forum...

Thread moved accordingly

Last edited by DamienD; 18 December 2019 at 00:44.
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Old 18 December 2019, 01:12   #7
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Yes agreed; there is no "Eye of the Beholder 3" on the Amiga*











*yet
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Old 18 December 2019, 02:07   #8
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no needed.
EoB3 is ugly and the worst of all series.
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Old 18 December 2019, 03:56   #9
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I would disagree as in not needed but yes, it could be enhanced to end the trilogy on the Amiga.
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Old 18 December 2019, 09:00   #10
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Why bother with eob 3 when Lands of Lore is the better game?
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Old 18 December 2019, 09:29   #11
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Why bother with eob 3 when Lands of Lore is the better game?
Because it gets pretty boring to play Lands of Lore over and over and over and over and over and over and etc. Having different games to play is a blessing, not a bother.
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Old 18 December 2019, 10:45   #12
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Originally Posted by gimbal View Post
Because it gets pretty boring to play Lands of Lore over and over and over and over and over and over and etc. Having different games to play is a blessing, not a bother.
I love LOL but, definitively : YES. Would be cool to play EotB III on Amiga
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Old 18 December 2019, 18:45   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selur View Post
EoB3 is ugly and the worst of all series.
I can only agree EoB-3 is sort of cursed but it is not without redemption...
Beside some awful portraits the other ugly thing is -font-.

Small letter "a" spoils character names...

With its shadow it is askew, wry and out of row among other letters.

(I avoid using small "a" in the names of my characters. Too bad, key character Delmair has it.)

By the way, Mirek from Vogons did something about the fonts... It isn't something impossible.
https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=20601


Other than that... Monsters or dungeons look more or less OK.
They are not splendid but neither they are hopeless

(And well, yes, they produce great "U-hu-hu, U-hu-hu!" sound.)

On Vogons forums I named something EoB-3 did right or at least OK to my consideration.

*
It's hard to say what they did right... But amazingly they did. Polearms, for example.

Nobody needed that +5 Chiftain Halberd from EoB-I when one could wield +5 Long sword and +3 Short sword. Using just 1 halberd instead was a loss.

Now poking enemies from the 2-nd rank of the party (in EoB-III) with long weapons - tridents or polearms - is a good thing.

Also they dealt in an interesting way with "level limits" for non human races. The limits themselves originate from basic AD&D core rules.
But the game authors added "manuals" as part of a riddle game - to correct a non human character affected by that limits.

(The Manuals in question also come faithfully from the DMG, Dungeon Master Guide 2-nd Edition.)
Like that "Book of Exalted Deeds" offered for reading.
It might give a Gnomish cleric a new level above the limit (up to level 14, level 7 priest spells!) and he/she is considered +1 Wisdom.
Just what a poor non human priest needs!

Also they included some Elven chainmail for those purist playes who detest armored casting as cheating. Just give elven chainmail to the multiclass mages and be purist
And there are only 2 sets of Elven chain, it is still exclusive equipment.

The "All Attack" button is good to greatly reduce hundreds of micromanagement clicks on separate weapons. Bright idea.

Some people blast EoB-III for placing the Mausoleum, the hardest dungeon, at the very start of the game. But I think this is good. That's how the real world works.
Danger just happens: it does not ask whether the characters are trained or not.
It's the hero's responsibility to check if the challenge is -not- too much for him/her.
If the party is weak (not Darkmoon veterans) just drop this Mausoleum... That's life

So why mechanically place more challenge as the party grows stronger.

One might give a try to this game.

Last edited by Sleeper Grey; 18 December 2019 at 19:05. Reason: update
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Old 18 December 2019, 19:01   #14
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Has someone contacted JackAsser user, recently?

http://eab.abime.net/member.php?u=7214

It was his C++ program that converted EoB-3 to normal bmp's...
Perhaps he could change it.
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Old 18 December 2019, 23:07   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper Grey View Post
Has someone contacted JackAsser user, recently?

http://eab.abime.net/member.php?u=7214
He does not seem to have visited EAB recently. And he has not activated the option to receive emails when receiving a PM.

Send me (via PM) what you would exactly like to ask him and an email address you would like him to reply to you (in case he does not reply on EAB) and I'll see what I can do to send it to him.
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Old 18 December 2019, 23:57   #16
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Originally Posted by lilalurl View Post
He does not seem to have visited EAB recently. And he has not activated the option to receive emails when receiving a PM.

Send me (via PM) what you would exactly like to ask him and an email address you would like him to reply to you (in case he does not reply on EAB) and I'll see what I can do to send it to him.
Thank you so much! PM sent.
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Old 17 January 2020, 22:24   #17
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While Mr. JackAsser still cannot be found I've made a much better version. Original post updated.

As I have checked various portraits ~in situ~... In real EoB-3 screenshot!

A new portrait might be nice by itself but it must "seamlessly" fall into the game color contrast and style scheme.

This shows why the potraits were changed in EoB-3 and how a new good version ~should~ look.
First, let's take the original, non-crocodile Green Girl portrait from EoB 1-2 and "paste" it into real EoB-3 screen.

The horror will be great. It's no good.
The use of low contrast colors in EoB 1-2, on a big screen showing all pixels, makes it look bad.



The face is "off", the features are not sharp, no contrast. The color is not "high and mighty" as EoB-3 uses it. Empty eyes are also a weakness.
On a small monitor with surrounding EoB-1 color scheme it was OK. But on a bigger screen with all pixels in view, in EoB-3 surroundings it looks very bleak and shabby.

As we can see it on the same screenshot EoB-3 adds "shiny" light spots to 3 other portraits and uses higher contrast colors - to make the portraits look "sleek", "bold" and lustrous.
Exactly like the shiny marble in the Mausoleum. Not a bad idea really.

Poor Green Girl from Eob-1 has no chance here. She has no of the abovementioned features. So, she was reworked.
Let's see what the official EoB-3 artist did. Again, some horror.



High brightness and green high contrast colors were added.
Empty eyes were changed into Violet, that goes nice with green, and Blue. (Too much really).

The hood is nearly unchanged. The mask is crude but shiny as EoB-3 color style dictates it.
But the face - is, well, a complete failure. Very big face, very ugly and a huge nose.

It's a ~Reptile~ masquerading as Jade, in Mortal Kombat terms!

Also this face has turned white to be shiny with light spots. While the original Green Girl from EoB 1-2 is not really white. She had darker skin shade. Strangely, exactly like the original Jade the green ninja from Mortal Kombat 2.

So, making a non-white character totally white (and ugly) is also no good.

Now our goal is clear. To keep the main features of the original EoB 1-2 face, let's look on it once more...



Give this lady a simpler viewing angle and more contrast and it will be OK.
I would not move pixels more than 1 position to any side.

Violet eyes are OK also. And let's keep the darker skin.

Here. Great on small screens too.




No more reptiles. It's the old "Jade", near all pixels are in place. Now looks colorful enough and on par with the bright Gold Lady or the Red Girl on the screenshot.

Cleaner and bright colors. Not unsightly anymore.
And her face is -not- bigger than that of male fighter. No huge nose.

I would use this portrait anytime instead of the "reptile" she was turned into by official EoB-3 artists.

Also 2 portraits were, believe it or not, censored(!) in EoB-3. Restoration is in order.

How we really code such portrait properly for the game, though, remains to be seen.

Does someone really understand the holy writings of JackAsser on this format? (below)

---
Eye of the Beholder III - BMP-fileformat


Format description

struct BMP
{
unsigned short fileSize;
unsigned short unknown1;
unsigned short unknown2;
unsigned short unknown3;
unsigned short unknown4;
unsigned short width;
unsigned short height;
unsigned char compressedData[fileSize-14];
}


Compressed data is composed of height amount of lines, each line is composed of one or more chunks. Each chunk utilize two schemes, either copy or fill.
for each line
line#, {xpos,islast,rle_width,rle_size, rle_data[rle_size] }*

xpos Start x-pos of this chunk.
islast $80=this is the last chunk, $00=more chunks follow.
rle_width The depacked width of the rle_data.
rle_size The number of packed bytes.
rle_data The compressed data for this chunk.

As mentioned before rle_data uses two different schemes, either copy or fill.

Basically the layout of the RLE-data is:
wwwwwwwm w=width-1 m=mode (0=copy 1=fill)

if (m==0)
unsigned char rawdata[w+1] (copy raw data)
else if (m==1)
unsigned char colorvalue (fill w+1 pixels using colorvalue)

That's it.

For example depack source, check bmpdepack.tgz


---
Waiting for some help here.
Come on, why playing the ugly game if it can be corrected.

Last edited by Sleeper Grey; 18 January 2020 at 00:11.
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Old 18 January 2020, 01:04   #18
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Just a clarification: doesn't the process here: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?p=149673#p149673 work?
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Old 18 January 2020, 07:34   #19
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Just a clarification: doesn't the process here: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?p=149673#p149673 work?
Thank you for mentioning it. It -could- be useful. But maybe I misunderstand the purpose of this process.
Please correct me if I'm wrong. This process seems to convert existing EoB-3 pictures ~from 16 bit format into 32bit~ format.
But it doesn't seem to allow making new EoB-3 pictures. In 16bit format or 32.

So our technological chain is still broken.
Correct (existing) EoB-3 pictures can be extracted with daesop.exe and put in place of other EoB-3 pictures... In the game, it works.

But editing them with XWE (what else might edit it, with EoB-3 color palette?) makes the saved picture format unrecognized by the game.

The only other option is to save the edited picture as 24bit .bmp and as it uses only EoB-3 palette colors hope to convert it into EoB-3 correct format.

Using something like JackAsser's converter... Working backwards.

Have you seen anything in that thread to get to such result?

Maybe I have missed something.
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Old 18 January 2020, 15:38   #20
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No, I'm just curious; I've only read into it and as reported in 2014 here by Neil: http://www.indieretronews.com/2014/0...wler-fans.html

I've not tried to reimport myself data into it (never had any success with XWE in the past, when I was dabbling with Amiga files editing, I only managed reimporting files, on Amiga, with the tools provided by CFOU!, which is beside the point of your research).

But beside all that, what I would try empirically is: extract the files, both image and relative palette; convert the image to raw 8 bit png, and import it in any graphic editor that allows importing a palette without scrambling it (Aseprite, but look into it before to try: when I did, recently with a cmd64 palette, the process was a bit confusing), then edit the file as you like with that palette, and export it again via trial and error process to the kind of datatype XWE or whatever repacker can use, check if it works (you don't need to reimport the palette).


the two important points imho are:

- the palette order / color table must remain the same between the original, your edit, and the export from your editor
- the repacker must work

edit: here (from 2018), on EoB 1, manipulating the chargen file is kinda easy.
edit 2: that's on dos, even, so even if I did forgot that I had, I must have made it with XWE



edit 3: I've just checked, I've still got the dosbox install I've edited, and it works. But I don't remember how I did it, I have to rebuild the process to. I'll check it tomorrow, if you need me to, but I suggest you to simply try again first: Chargen file is the easiest to tweak, all of the rest, for whatever reason are more complex, because they (at least in EoB 1 and 2) may use a different palette depending on the level of the game, with only a few used colors from each level color table, so they need to stay constant: you either get color screwed in the sprite you edit, or on other sprites that depend on those colors ;/

Last edited by Marcuz; 18 January 2020 at 16:23.
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