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Old 01 January 2009, 18:47   #1
jotd
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Chaos Engine level viewer

Hi,

You can download a very early version of Chaos Engine level viewer here:

http://jotd.free.fr/chaos_engine/

This viewer uses ripped graphics but original game CD32 data (at least the ones I could figure out):

- height/stairs/exits information
- tile data
- pickable items

there is other info but not displayed/fully decoded yet.

enjoy!
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Old 01 January 2009, 18:53   #2
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Great work jotd Really cool to view the whole levels
Guess the gamemaps for Chaos Engine are added soon

Edit : There are some 'pink' spots on the later levels. I guess it's some transparency thing. First occurence is on level 2-2 at the exit. Can you replace this color with black when exporting the picture jotd?

Last edited by TCD; 01 January 2009 at 19:07.
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Old 01 January 2009, 19:24   #3
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Originally Posted by TheCyberDruid View Post
Great work jotd Really cool to view the whole levels
Guess the gamemaps for Chaos Engine are added soon

Edit : There are some 'pink' spots on the later levels. I guess it's some transparency thing. First occurence is on level 2-2 at the exit. Can you replace this color with black when exporting the picture jotd?
yes you can create gamemaps with the export function (does not include the items, though). HOL already have them, so it's not really useful.

I think transparency is unneeded, I would have to remove it in the source images.

I did not create the save function. Not sure that I can modify the levels in a way that they're very different from the original ones: most of the stuff seems code-driven.
But that's a good start for a remake

BTW I found a gold key that I never found before in level 2-2, thanks to the bonus display. The other secrets I already knew all. That's good for closure.

I have tried to decode Gods levels this way, but no luck it seems packed/more complex.
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Old 01 January 2009, 19:29   #4
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Good to know HOL has got them already
It's really an eye opener for me, since there are a lot of bonus items I missed before Best of luck with your remake
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Old 01 January 2009, 19:31   #5
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I couldn't run it sadly (won't find javaw, despite having installed JRE6 and adding it's bin directory to the system PATH variable). I don't know if you've seen my post in the "Some disassmebled games" topic, but I posted a textfile there with the things I've figured out about Chaos Engine's level format so far. In addition to what you've described, I've figured out how the music transitions are stored, how the disappearing and appearing of parts in the level works, and how triggers and objects are stored.

That said a lot of the data in those tables remains a mystery to me. I eventually just got stuck and gave up on an editor\remake. I hope you will have more luck though! I've attached what I found out.
Attached Files
File Type: txt tabs.txt (16.8 KB, 192 views)
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Old 01 January 2009, 20:00   #6
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Originally Posted by Exl View Post
I couldn't run it sadly (won't find javaw, despite having installed JRE6 and adding it's bin directory to the system PATH variable). I don't know if you've seen my post in the "Some disassmebled games" topic, but I posted a textfile there with the things I've figured out about Chaos Engine's level format so far. In addition to what you've described, I've figured out how the music transitions are stored, how the disappearing and appearing of parts in the level works, and how triggers and objects are stored.

That said a lot of the data in those tables remains a mystery to me. I eventually just got stuck and gave up on an editor\remake. I hope you will have more luck though! I've attached what I found out.
try to open a DOS prompt and run "javaw". See what it does.

Too bad I did not see your textfile earlier!! I should have guessed that you had worked on the game.

Here's my level info. I did not find as much as you. I did not find the appearing/disappearing stuff, music transitions, nor a lot of links between the tables.

Player start location seems not included. As opposed to Superfrog, Cannon Fodder, and other "simple" tile-based games, there's code behind the levels, thus making the game more interesting because there's a behaviour. I'm not sure they developped some scripting language (well maybe it's the case) but it's really easier to code stuff directly, unlike Cadaver, where a scripting language was developped specially.

So I think that modifying the level data won't do any good to create new levels with the original game engine (unlike Superfrog), but knowing all this data certainly helps to create a remake that's very faithful to the original level data.
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File Type: txt map_format.txt (3.6 KB, 217 views)
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Old 01 January 2009, 20:37   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jotd View Post
try to open a DOS prompt and run "javaw". See what it does.
Does nothing (no "javaw is unreecognized command" either).

Quote:
Player start location seems not included. As opposed to Superfrog, Cannon Fodder, and other "simple" tile-based games, there's code behind the levels, thus making the game more interesting because there's a behaviour. I'm not sure they developped some scripting language (well maybe it's the case) but it's really easier to code stuff directly, unlike Cadaver, where a scripting language was developped specially.

So I think that modifying the level data won't do any good to create new levels with the original game engine (unlike Superfrog), but knowing all this data certainly helps to create a remake that's very faithful to the original level data.
A lot of info is missing, yes. I haven't been able to find where the Nodes info is found, though I do see triggers (events) near where a node is. But Whether they've added code behind the levels I'm not sure. Have a look at http://www.dvdflick.net/storage/cspy1.png Events and "Covers" as I've dubbed them are linked together. A lot of the game's mechanics can already be replicated just by activating\deactivating these covers when a trigger\event is started. A remake should be possible with this. Now, monster locations on the other hand...?
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Old 01 January 2009, 23:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exl View Post
Does nothing (no "javaw is unreecognized command" either).


A lot of info is missing, yes. I haven't been able to find where the Nodes info is found, though I do see triggers (events) near where a node is. But Whether they've added code behind the levels I'm not sure. Have a look at http://www.dvdflick.net/storage/cspy1.png Events and "Covers" as I've dubbed them are linked together. A lot of the game's mechanics can already be replicated just by activating\deactivating these covers when a trigger\event is started. A remake should be possible with this. Now, monster locations on the other hand...?
Try "java" instead of "javaw".

There are not necessarily a trigger around nodes. In more advanced levels, I see some trigger right where the node is, but on the first level I don't.

Your editor looks good! Looks better than mine. My editor shows items graphically (coins, keys, etc...) but not all the trigger stuff. It also displays height info and transitions (but you've got that I'm sure).
I'm not sure about the "monster location and animation" part. IMHO it's only an animation block.
There's a lot of redundant stuff in the level data for speed sake (height masks ...). That's not helping either. Furtermore, I believe that the structures are not read only but read/write (once loaded in memory of course), hence a lot of zeroes to store information during the game.

If we write a functional editor, it could be possible to "import" original game data, and then add missing stuff that could not be found or which is in the code. In Gods remake, I've written an association system which works 80% of the time: key opens door when pressing lever, monster appears when entering area, item appears when entering area if other item owned ... Saves a lot of coding.

I see a lot of technical problems for a remake (I've got a good experience in remakes now )

- the RJP format has no replayer for windows. I've got 68k source but it writes into custom chips and it's not straightforward. Using 68k 2 C like with the ATN! stuff won't be that easy, specially if the player changes sampling freq (which is very likely). It would be cool if the modules could be converted in .mod format. Then I've got a working module player for SDL, which means that I can control the parts that are played.

- the AI for the second computer player is not a piece of cake. I remind that the game release was delayed because of the AI. Well, maybe we could start with 1 player mode with all bonuses divided by 2 (money/powerups/health) so it's fair.

- the AI/moves for the monsters won't be that easy to replicate, even if that's not the most difficult issue.

- AGA GFX are a bitch to rip. I have written a tool to convert some AGA .BIN files to png, and then I recolor files by hand using screenshots. GFXRip is no use since bitplanes are not ordered properly, and the palette is weird (AGA shit): each monster must be recognized (I've done most of the recognition) and recolored (means that the game must be played with winuae and a lot of screenshots are required) => takes a lot of time. And it would not look very good in ECS 16 color mode.

- ECS GFX are not that easy to rip either.

- SFX must be ripped without the music on (WinUAE can disable channels). Let's hope that the sound system does not have a channel allocation mode...

- The game is complex, a lot more complex than Gods.

- Once we get the game working with original levels, some enhancements would need to be made or else it would not be worth remaking it:
- a new set of 16 levels should be designed (take a lot of time!!)
- gfx should be reworked partly by hand (scale2x is good but too automatic).
- maybe some ECS tiles should be recolored to look better.
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Old 02 January 2009, 09:41   #9
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I am sure that Chaos Regime team will love this
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Old 02 January 2009, 14:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jotd View Post
I'm not sure about the "monster location and animation" part. IMHO it's only an animation block.
I think you're right, some more of the fields in that table have become clear with that in mind!

Quote:
Furtermore, I believe that the structures are not read only but read/write (once loaded in memory of course), hence a lot of zeroes to store information during the game.
Yes. I notice that in at least the first two maps, there are exactly 2 sets of 9 zero integers; exactly enough to store two tilemaps.

Quote:
If we write a functional editor, it could be possible to "import" original game data, and then add missing stuff that could not be found or which is in the code.
Yeah if all else fails that's an option. I don't think keeping the level format in it's original form is right for a remake anyway.

Quote:
- the RJP format has no replayer for windows.
There is XMPlay with the DeliX plugin (and Deliplayer itself), which can at least play back the music. We can always just rip the music as audio and compress as OGG\MP3.

Quote:
- the AI for the second computer player is not a piece of cake. I remind that the game release was delayed because of the AI. Well, maybe we could start with 1 player mode with all bonuses divided by 2 (money/powerups/health) so it's fair.
Personally I think this isn't terribly difficult. Back then they had to write AI that ran acceptably fast on an A500. Today we have hundreds of times more processing power available even on low-end machines.

Quote:
- AGA GFX are a bitch to rip. I have written a tool to convert some AGA .BIN files to png, and then I recolor files by hand using screenshots. GFXRip is no use since bitplanes are not ordered properly, and the palette is weird (AGA shit): each monster must be recognized (I've done most of the recognition) and recolored (means that the game must be played with winuae and a lot of screenshots are required) => takes a lot of time. And it would not look very good in ECS 16 color mode.
- ECS GFX are not that easy to rip either.
I have a mixture of AGA and ECS version graphics now. This is indeed a real pain.

Quote:
- SFX must be ripped without the music on (WinUAE can disable channels). Let's hope that the sound system does not have a channel allocation mode...
WinUAE also has a nice sample ripper. I already have most of the vocal sounds ("Party Power!", "Node Activated!", etc.) ripped.

Quote:
- The game is complex, a lot more complex than Gods.
our experience with Gods should help a lot though, you may have better insight into the Bitmap Brothers' minds

Here's how far I got; http://www.dvdflick.net/storage/disarraydevice.zip
The level viewer is in the chaosspy directory.
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Old 02 January 2009, 14:58   #11
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Yes looks intresting JOTD and EXL yours also look intresting - I did have some problems though JOTD its probably my JAVA out of date ill try again.

HOL have done well getting MAP data.
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Old 02 January 2009, 16:30   #12
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nice job JOTD. Glad to see you haven't forgotten Java When the time is there I'm certainly pitching in with the building of new levels.
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Old 02 January 2009, 19:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exl View Post
Here's how far I got; http://www.dvdflick.net/storage/disarraydevice.zip
The level viewer is in the chaosspy directory.
That is impressive EXL -You and jotd should work together on a remake

Just out of curiosity I had a look at A1CHAOS.CAS with a hex editor and was able to move a few tiles do the graphic tiles also contain collision data?

@JOTD

Do you have any tools to extract files from gods?
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Old 02 January 2009, 23:37   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Boo View Post
That is impressive EXL -You and jotd should work together on a remake

Just out of curiosity I had a look at A1CHAOS.CAS with a hex editor and was able to move a few tiles do the graphic tiles also contain collision data?

@JOTD

Do you have any tools to extract files from gods?
I think a joint work on a CE remake is nicely coming up

The first block is the tiles + height / transitions (stairs) data. So the game forbids that you change heights without a transition. So the answer is yes.

I don't have any tool to extract files from Gods. I think they have used a packer but it's not RNC. I'll check the whdload slave.

The levels were already ripped (with errors) on HOL.

That's too bad because that would have saved me a lot of hassle entering all the bonus/item data by hand. Also I may have missed some stuff (but I doubt so).
For the map data, I had used HOL png maps and I rebuilt the logic map data using image matching on each tile. For collisions, I just affected each tile a property (foreground/background/ladder) and could define local overrides for exceptions. I'm sure the original game did not do that, but that's a very efficient way of quick designing level (could apply to CE to some extent) because the image also defines the player environment.
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Old 03 January 2009, 02:59   #15
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Excellent work guys! CE is my favourite Amiga game by far and just the thought of a remake (and possibly custom levels) is enough to get me frothing at the mouth!

And to think, I still haven't got through the custom Gods levels yet!
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Old 03 January 2009, 03:06   #16
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Just to say excellent work on the viewer Exl and Jotd, a CE remake would be rather cool, would be even cooler if an ex-bitmap would see these posts and comment/hint..

As for the Gods data, from poking about in the old days they did provide early/unpacked? files for the ST-Format demo of the game (disk 21), those were even viewable in old raw gfx rippers and stuff, the files were renamed for the demo I guess to have a .CUT extention, denoting an edit from the original full versions of the data perhaps.

But as for the full Gods game, the level files I think were the again split up into a MAP, DAT and PI1 file, the PI1 file contains the block gfx I think, perhaps a Degas Elite file? The MAP file I assume to be the tilemap, DAT for some datas. As for the format/packing, unknown, you can see the files listed inside the WHD disk.2, plus these files also exist in the PC version, but have a "P" at the front (e.g. PLEV1A.MAP), on inspection in a hex editor of the PC files, there is no RNC label, but all three files start with 0x00 0x06 in hex, so may be packed/other/custom.

I have the ST demo files zipped if you want them, they may be more confusing than use though. Perhaps somebody with know-how of the WHD slave images could rip out the files, or perhaps they are rippable from memory in UAE anyways, if it's something people wanna look into, but with the excellent Gods remake out there's probably little need now really.. other than curiosity I guess :-)

Q;
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Old 03 January 2009, 03:34   #17
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Thats intresting Qube and made me think there was a Amiga Format Gods demo and I think it used files. It seems a lot of Amiga games use RAW for the graphics I was just haveing a look at Chaos Engine and the graphics were Raw interlaced.
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Old 03 January 2009, 05:35   #18
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Maybe its time to kick The Chaos Engine out of the voting system for the league because we now all know TOO MUCH information about it!
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Old 03 January 2009, 09:06   #19
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Quote:
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Excellent work guys! CE is my favourite Amiga game by far and just the thought of a remake (and possibly custom levels) is enough to get me frothing at the mouth!

And to think, I still haven't got through the custom Gods levels yet!
you'll have to wait for the CE remake, and even more for the custom levels !!!
You've got work to do finding all secret stuff of the custom Gods levels
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Old 03 January 2009, 12:44   #20
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Thats intresting Qube and made me think there was a Amiga Format Gods demo and I think it used files. It seems a lot of Amiga games use RAW for the graphics I was just haveing a look at Chaos Engine and the graphics were Raw interlaced.
Yep, the Ami demo of Gods also used files, the gfx files have ENC or BIN extensions, seem to be unprotected, just plain RAW etc. There are also PC1 files for some gfx I guess, some Degas format maybe, unknown. Look in WEAPONS.001 for some fun comments. LEV1A.CUT is likely the tilemap, as with the ST demo, however the ST demo uses some different tile gfx too, maybe earlier versions..

As for the Ami CE demo, virtually all files are RNC'd, I'm guessing they can be unpacked etc for inspection. I guess the Bitmaps were more protective this time with their demo release..
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