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Old 09 December 2016, 12:04   #1
earok
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Another World - The Lost Level

EDIT: As described below, I've released a standalone version with that single level in beta. Subject name of this post has been updated to reflect that the project is now focused on that single level.

EDIT 2: Can be downloaded from http://earok.net/game/another-world-lost-level


I've been attempting to get the MS-DOS data files in Another World to run in the Amiga engine, with partial success (the reason for doing this is to be able to play the MS-DOS exclusive level on real Amiga hardware).

My attempt has been posted to the zone. I've abandoned work on it due to two issues, hopefully someone with more experience at Amiga hacking will take over from here. Basically:
1. Graphical glitches appear a short time into playing the game, and progressively get worse.
2. Copy protection still needs to be cracked.

What I did was simply:
1. Overwrite the BANK files with their MS-DOS counterparts
2. Past the "MEMLIST.BIN" file from the MS-DOS version into offset 5E7A in the "Another" executable
3. Insert a rudimentary hack at offset 4078 in the "Another" executable. This solves an issue that would otherwise make it impossible to swim up at the very start of the game (I believe this is because the MS-DOS version uses separate variables for JUMP and UP, presumably for two button joysticks etc)

If you want to see the MS-DOS level in action, just load "Another", use http://www.oldgames.sk/docs/codewheel/another-world/ to solve the copy protection, press C and enter the code "TFBB"

Last edited by earok; 18 December 2016 at 10:24.
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Old 09 December 2016, 15:15   #2
DamienD
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Very cool idea earok

Unfortunately I'm no help to you

...but you should the Flashtro crack for this; it's come from the the original 1991 .IPF, no protection obviously and it's the only cracked version with English level code entry etc. see this old thread for more details
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Old 09 December 2016, 22:11   #3
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Do you have to replace all the BANK files with their counterparts? I haven't looked at what the BANK files are for, but typically there's much greater probability of success by replacing the necessary level data than to replace all of them.

My approach would to add the missing level data and patch MEMLIST.BIN with that addition. It probably wouldn't work as the game might not go to the added level directly, so I would then see about replacing the level prior to the missing one just to see if it would work.

Another quick approach would be replacing one of the existing levels and with the missing one and see if that would load by itself. I'd probably try this first.

My guess is that Amiga version came first and the MS-DOS version might have additional code/data that the Amiga might not be able to handle.
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Old 09 December 2016, 22:24   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demoniac View Post
my guess is that Amiga version came first and the MS-DOS version might have additional code/data that the Amiga might not be able to handle.
Correct, the DOS version came out a year later with an extra level created by Eric, but the port itself was coded by someone else.
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Old 10 December 2016, 00:36   #5
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Started investigating the graphical glitches myself, making some progress on it.

1: Background colour will sometimes turn Orange in the middle of the first level. I've found some code that seems to trigger that, and I'm unsure if it has any other useful purpose. Not difficult to simply make sure the code never branches there.

2: Foreground and background gets out of alignment on certain screens, and this sticks (so when you die and restart, they're still out of alignment even on screens that were good before). This appears to be because the "VM_VARIABLE_SCROLL_Y" variable only adjusts the one of the two layers. I'm guessing that they couldn't or didn't bother scrolling the layers independently for the DOS version, so the virtual machine code doesn't update separate foreground and background scroll values? I think I'm close to solving that one but I'll need to sink a little more time into it.

3. The one that I don't currently have any idea on is, on the first level at least (haven't seen this elsewhere yet) is Lester's body warps to shit when it's in the standing pose, but is OK when crouching. That one I have absolutely no idea what's causing it.



Edit: Oh yeah, um..

@DamienD I'm currently using the Delphi collection executable, the problem is the copy protection comes from the virtual machine side (I think). Source code for both the WHDLoad slave and reverse engineered port is available, so between them I should be able to come up with something

@Demoniac I'm not confident I can simply splice the new level in (someone smarter than me probably could though) there's the same number of BANK* files between the DOS and Amiga versions so I'm not quite sure how to squeeze it in. There's also a bunch of other tweaks throughout the games (from memory, the Tank scene is longer and more difficult in the DOS version) which would be worth bringing across.

@AmigaJay didn't know that, thanks

*Well kind of.. Out of this World Amiga has the same number of BANK files as the DOS version, but 1 more than the original Amiga Another World from memory

Last edited by earok; 10 December 2016 at 00:54.
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Old 10 December 2016, 04:33   #6
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Did the mac version have these extra levels?
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Old 10 December 2016, 04:50   #7
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Did the mac version have these extra levels?
maybe? I think I did have a look at the data but found it didn't have bank files like the dos and amiga versions did.
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Old 10 December 2016, 09:02   #8
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Yeah the Mac is the same as the DOS version but in a higher resolution.
Btw are reading they both have extra dangers and save points throughout the game, not just on the extra level, this maybe why bugs are happening?
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Old 12 December 2016, 21:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earok View Post
Started investigating the graphical glitches myself, making some progress on it.

@Demoniac I'm not confident I can simply splice the new level in (someone smarter than me probably could though) there's the same number of BANK* files between the DOS and Amiga versions so I'm not quite sure how to squeeze it in. There's also a bunch of other tweaks throughout the games (from memory, the Tank scene is longer and more difficult in the DOS version) which would be worth bringing across.
Let's say there are 5 BANK files and each one roughly corresponds to a level. Are you able to swap one of them with the extra scenes instead of replacing all of them? Glad you are making some progress.
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Old 12 December 2016, 21:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demoniac View Post
Let's say there are 5 BANK files and each one roughly corresponds to a level. Are you able to swap one of them with the extra scenes instead of replacing all of them? Glad you are making some progress.
I'm sure someone can but then the MEMBANK.BIN file would need to be remapped appropriately.. I've given up on the project regardless, I thought I was making headway but then got completely stuck.
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Old 13 December 2016, 13:59   #11
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I'm guessing that Eric did produce the level using an Amiga, so why not just ask him if an Amiga version with the extra level exist.
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Old 13 December 2016, 14:08   #12
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Originally Posted by kamelito View Post
I'm guessing that Eric did produce the level using an Amiga, so why not just ask him if an Amiga version with the extra level exist.
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Old 13 December 2016, 19:47   #13
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quickly translated from Eric homepage by bing.
"The PC DOS version:
Articles in the press of the time criticized the short duration of the Amiga version. Delphine Software suggested to extend it. I had in stock a few unused ideas, sufficient basis to design a full level. However it was essential not to break the overall pace of the game, he was out of the question to add anything after the ending sequence. The ideal site was located just before the arena when the friend saves Lester at the end of a long dead-end corridor. I decided to strengthen the bond between the hero and the alien, develop their mutual assistance. The problem is that I had less than 2 months to make it happen. Here we go again for 16 h 7/7... In the end, this level brings a lot to the game. This version was ported by Daniel Morais.'
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Old 14 December 2016, 01:54   #14
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I started investigating the possibility of "merging" the DOS and Amiga versions as people previously suggested, though there's numerous complexities involved. The level entry screens (in BANK09) have different alphabets and don't appear to be mutually compatible (eg I tried typing in the password 'TFBB' with the letter positions on the Amiga version level entry screen, which didn't work)

Also, it appears that there's not a clear separation between BANK file and levels, the MS -DOS exclusive level appears to need at least BANK06 and BANK07, and probably several others just to start (and of course those files are present in the Amiga version anyway, so they can't just be supplanted). It seems that a whole conversion would be required rather than a mix-and-match one.


EDIT: Just thought of another thing to try: the possibility of creating another BANK file, populating it with certain resources from the Amiga version, and pointing the executable to use those.

Last edited by earok; 14 December 2016 at 02:08.
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Old 14 December 2016, 13:48   #15
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Learned a little more how it all works. Levels are essentially made up of a combination of a palette, bytecode and cutscene resource (all other resources eg SFX, Music and Polygon animations are shared). The "Levels" in the game are:
  1. Copy protection screen
  2. Intro
  3. Start of game (in water with piano)
  4. Escape from cage
  5. Ventilation tunnels
  6. Tank
  7. Bath house
  8. Final cutscene
  9. Level code screen

As you can see the MS-DOS level isn't a discrete "level" in it's own right, since it's well after the ventilation tunnels scene but just before you reach the tank.

An additional complication is some (not all) of the levels are essentially copy protected, eg you can't access the Amiga ones until you've passed through the Amiga copy protection screen and you can't access the DOS ones until you've passed through the DOS protection screen.
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Old 14 December 2016, 20:55   #16
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I'm not sure what else to suggest. Hacking these things are always a gamble -- a lot of work involved and no guarantee of success.

You could try contacting Eric Chani at www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/contact.htm
and see if there is an Amiga version with the extra levels like kamelito suggested.
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Old 14 December 2016, 23:33   #17
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I'm kind of too shy to contact Eric myself in any case, still making slow progress (and having too much fun) Worked out how to rip the bytecode and make changes to it.

I've abandoned the idea of inserting the new level back into the core game but I'm hopeful what I can do instead is make a standalone release of the single level by itself (as "another world: the lost level" or some such)

Something that might help - has anyone found an UNCRACKED dos copy? All the copies I've found on abandonware sites don't need the codewheel.
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Old 15 December 2016, 08:59   #18
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Maybe this could help you then.
http://fabiensanglard.net/anotherWorld_code_review/
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Old 15 December 2016, 09:19   #19
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Worked out how to crack the copy protection at a bytecode level or at least on the "level select" screen, I'm hoping that the rest of the game is protected the same way.

In short, there's an instruction in bytecode which determines whether or not to branch depending on whether copy protection codes have been input (if they haven't it branches to a dead end, otherwise it just continues). Simply telling the byte code to branch to the next instruction even if copy protection failed does the trick
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Old 15 December 2016, 10:43   #20
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Well, I'm done!

In the zone for your pleasure is a standalone build of "Another World: The Lost Level".

No copy protection screen, but you do have to key in the appropriate code at the level select screen (the code is displayed on screen anyway). It'll only play that one level, attempting to play any other level (should) just bring it right back to the level select screen. If you finish the level it'll go right back to the start.

Consider this a beta - I can't guarantee it won't crash etc (didn't crash while playing it through on WinUAE, haven't tested on a real Amiga). Not sure if it's possible to fit on floppies, I've removed the resources I know aren't being used but most of the BANK files are still there just in case. It may be compatible with the WHDLoad slave but I'm not certain.

Last edited by earok; 15 December 2016 at 11:08.
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