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Old 13 September 2021, 14:05   #61
UnnamedCourier
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It doesn't have new tiles, it just has a new lighting effect (that is used for certain puzzles in the new maps created by Martin Good for it). None of the player graphics are redrawn, it's just the lighting effect. The gunfire and muzzle flash graphics are redrawn. I spent weeks going through this, it's already documented in the links I've mentioned above...
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Old 13 September 2021, 15:48   #62
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So the lighting effect is basically that tiles under the sky are brighter. Neat idea, for sure, and I wished the original version had enough colors to make it happen. It would have made for some nice puzzles, as the one in the test map.
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Old 13 September 2021, 16:10   #63
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There are definitely some new tiles, for example ceiling lighting in bat chambers (that enlight the floor tiles beneath them). Very notable and nice.

Last edited by Predseda; 13 September 2021 at 16:24.
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Old 13 September 2021, 17:33   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
So the lighting effect is basically that tiles under the sky are brighter. Neat idea, for sure, and I wished the original version had enough colors to make it happen. It would have made for some nice puzzles, as the one in the test map.
I think problem with brightness is wrong choice of "base". It's normal, bright, brighter. I think it should be dark, normal, bright.
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Old 13 September 2021, 18:19   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predseda View Post
There are definitely some new tiles, for example ceiling lighting in bat chambers (that enlight the floor tiles beneath them). Very notable and nice.

Actually you are right, the lights in the ceiling are new. The only changes I can see in the top level Graphics/ folder is that the first tile set (the "wooden" looking one) has a new timestamp on its main file (stone.ilbm) but it's not clear what is different - if anything - I personally can't tell from looking at it. Also the tree graphic from this set is completely changed to only have one style of (ugly looking) new tree. Interestingly there is a "tree1.bin" file as well as a "tree.bin" file so presumably they kept both, but in game all trees now only show the new style.

The lights have been updated in every single tile set, but otherwise all the other tile graphics are identical to the retail OCS version.
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Old 13 September 2021, 18:42   #66
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The new trees seem to be placeholders, as they don't match the pixel art of the rest of the graphics and indeed look quite ugly.

What I wonder is if the map cell data contains space reserved for the lighting information even for the original release, of if this was added later. The former would mean that the lighting system already was a part of the game, but not used before the unreleased AGA version.

Are there screenshots for the ceiling light, and also the 45-degree-intermediate-perspective from the prototype game made by Johnson?
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Old 13 September 2021, 19:06   #67
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What I wonder is if the map cell data contains space reserved for the lighting information even for the original release, of if this was added later. The former would mean that the lighting system already was a part of the game, but not used before the unreleased AGA version.
This is something I've wanted to figure out as well. It uses the same map editor as was released before, so this was a feature already publically available for some time. I've never actually made a map before, so I don't know offhand what to look for yet. I haven't checked all the manual pages yet either.

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Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
Are there screenshots for the ceiling light, and also the 45-degree-intermediate-perspective from the prototype game made by Johnson?
There will be. I haven't converted the lights yet (they are present as ilbms and raw files in the Graphics folder), but I have screenshots of Dungoneer, I just haven't uploaded yet. It's a nightmare getting screenshots of high res Amiga software as they are usually at funky aspect ratios and I don't know the correct WinUAE settings to get the "real" pixel output every time.
See attached examples of Dungeoneer.

Edit - Added these to the article and also fleshed out the part on unused enemy animations: https://tcrf.net/Development:Hired_G...g.22_Animation
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Last edited by UnnamedCourier; 13 September 2021 at 19:36.
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Old 14 September 2021, 09:05   #68
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I was reading mentioned article and about PsiAmps - Quench and Transmute is in OCS/ECS version, but don't know if only in single maps. AFAIR Quench gather water (must be used on water tile) and make bottle in hands, transmute change any item (e.g. trash) into random food.

BTW: There is page on PPA about Hired Guns in Polish. I was contributing here some infos, e.g. weapon's strength (but tested on one type of ammo and on MC 128-7 CIM). In "strefa zrzutu" (drop zone) are some bonuses, including map editor, map viewer, additional campaign, maps and characters.
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Old 14 September 2021, 12:12   #69
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Originally Posted by Solo Kazuki View Post
I was reading mentioned article and about PsiAmps - Quench and Transmute is in OCS/ECS version, but don't know if only in single maps. AFAIR Quench gather water (must be used on water tile) and make bottle in hands, transmute change any item (e.g. trash) into random food.
Yeah, I realised this the other day looking through the game's files, I think all the psi-amps are in the game, but I need to sit down and check 1:1 before I write it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo Kazuki View Post
BTW: There is page on PPA about Hired Guns in Polish. I was contributing here some infos, e.g. weapon's strength (but tested on one type of ammo and on MC 128-7 CIM). In "strefa zrzutu" (drop zone) are some bonuses, including map editor, map viewer, additional campaign, maps and characters.
Yeah, It's a cool little site and where I got the map editor from some time ago. I would say though the map editor release on there is obsolete now, it was never the whole editor, just the source code/build directory that Scott J decided to release for some reason. The actual real editor is now available in the development files and has the manual and the really cool "HG_viewer" isometric map modeller. I might put it into an ADF or something, but it has a ton of other weird stuff that seems to go with it (e.g. the build of 39.10 of the game) but doesn't work/do anything.

Do you know how they got the pictures of the cut items from the demo like the camcorder/hammer etc? I want to do a write up on the demo as there are loads of odd things changed from it (Rorian starts with a sword!). There also descriptions for some of these objects in the old "Encyclopedia.txt" file.

I've got the next few weeks off work so will try and find more stuff and also do some real hardware testing on my A1200. I've actually got a real CD32, but it's at my parent's house in the attic somewhere, but might try it on that. Everything so far has only been in WinUAE.
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Old 14 September 2021, 16:24   #70
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I'd be very pleased if someone is able to figure out how the map data is read, i.e. where the byte indices for cells, sky, triggers, start positions and so on are.
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Old 15 September 2021, 15:28   #71
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You could probably work out the above from the source code for the game/editor, I'm not really a programmer personally.

In other news I spent some time messing around with the old demo of the game, and found a huge amount of stuff:
https://tcrf.net/Hired_Guns#Amiga_Demo_-_Version_37.14

Discoveries include:
  • Different character graphics
  • Loads of Melee weapons
  • Lots of unused key items
  • Different level descriptions

EDIT:
It's quite interesting to think about the implications of the above. There was clearly originally going to be more to Psionics, and with CIM, CIM-Lite and Miyriel having a zero score for psi strength I assume they would not be able to use psi-amps. That would majorly shake up which characters to use instead of the CIMs no brainer choice of the final game (and umm.. Miyriel would suck even more!) with characters like Jenillee given a boost due to their psi attacks presumably being more powerful. There also seems to be an intention towards general greater focus on stats and a greater RPG feeling with so many items altering them when that's not really a big deal in the final game other than psi-amps like Feather. Then you have the items like the Camcorder and Satellite Uplink card that would have added a bit more variety to the proceedings. Getting rid of melee was probably a smart move, but it's weird that one of the first things you're likely to see in the demo is a sword that does absolutely nothing. Were melee attacks yet to be developed and then scrapped (so why give the player a sword?), or were they in and removed at the last minute from the demo (and the game overall)? It is a mystery...

Last edited by UnnamedCourier; 15 September 2021 at 16:31. Reason: Added musings
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Old 15 September 2021, 20:33   #72
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Quite an interesting read, thanks!

It seems that the game was far more ambitious at first, but had to be cut down for various reasons.

Last edited by Lord Aga; 15 September 2021 at 21:26.
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Old 15 September 2021, 21:06   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
I'd be very pleased if someone is able to figure out how the map data is read, i.e. where the byte indices for cells, sky, triggers, start positions and so on are.
Horizon data is on 1208 byte, 576 bytes per direction, 2304 bytes long.
First panel data is on 10738 byte, each panel is 480 bytes x 32 panels so all panels is 15360 bytes long.

I need edit it manually on my maps because ilbm2raw crashes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnnamedCourier View Post
The only changes I can see in the top level Graphics/ folder is that the first tile set (the "wooden" looking one) has a new timestamp on its main file (stone.ilbm) but it's not clear what is different - if anything - I personally can't tell from looking at it.
Maybe one pixel fix. I remember in some tile set wall and celling not matching by one pixel and you see moving monsters on upper floor.

Last edited by Doomer; 15 September 2021 at 21:18.
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Old 16 September 2021, 10:21   #74
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This treasure trove of new discoveries has rekindled my interest in this game. I have two questions regarding the maps, or map editor:

1. For cell block type (wall, push, teleport etc.), one can select "Ft Boost". I wonder what that is?



2. There seems to be some kind of per-cell data that determines if a sky is to be drawn in one of the four directions. At least that'#s why I think. It appears that outside, two tiles away from an entrance / door, the sky is not to be drawn in the direction of the building. From inside the building, the tiles near the entrance conversely have the sky set to be drawn only towards the outside. I assume this has something to do with cells that are non-empty not being drawn beyond four tiles distance, so in these cases the sky direction data would determine if there is sky or just darkness (to simulate the building looming in the distance). Maybe someone has a better understanding?



Pic: The colored areas show the directions the sky is to be drawn for each cell.

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Old 16 September 2021, 14:05   #75
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2. There seems to be some kind of per-cell data that determines if a sky is to be drawn in one of the four directions. At least that'#s why I think. It appears that outside, two tiles away from an entrance / door, the sky is not to be drawn in the direction of the building. From inside the building, the tiles near the entrance conversely have the sky set to be drawn only towards the outside. I assume this has something to do with cells that are non-empty not being drawn beyond four tiles distance, so in these cases the sky direction data would determine if there is sky or just darkness (to simulate the building looming in the distance). Maybe someone has a better understanding?
Correct. Inside, sky is covered by walls, but when you open door you must see sky when be inside. That same outside, darkness covered by walls but when open door must be darkness inside building. Its not perfect, in many cases complex levels with mix inside and outside looks strange. To see, face to building, open door and step back 2 squares when door was opened. Maaaaany levels have errors.
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Old 16 September 2021, 18:28   #76
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Thanks. Interestingly, these sky drawing setups were only done for areas near entrances, but not elsewhere near walls. That means that there is still the weird effect of seeing the sky, stepping forward, and suddenly having a large black building some tiles away blocking the view. Ideally, an algorithm automatiaclly generating this data would have been written as part of the map making or loading process.
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Old 16 September 2021, 19:19   #77
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Some original maps have black background outside to minimalise this weird effect sky, sky, large building, so its designer choice. Algorithm speedups process but need corrections, and main part is good level design. I avoid design like on your picture, door, wall on left and outside. When player be on bottom left blue arrow and looks north, its ok to right side of the screen where is building inside, but left side is black where it should be sky because its outside.
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Old 16 September 2021, 20:09   #78
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I thought I'd be smart and check the Map Editor manual for what Ft Boost means. There's an entry for the block types in there.... and the page was never written

I also messed around with the DTS Ultra Proto last night. I really distinctly remember discussions about this item I think on usenet years ago and how it actually is in the game on a map, so I deliberately didn't include it in the TCRF page. However, looking at it closer, it has a different design in the demo (it uses the what would become the final game DTS colouring compared to the brown normal DTS in the demo) and has no graphic at all in the final game. It DOES work in the final game however (it shows you all the map like Farsight does), it just has its icon screwed up now. I'm not sure if it's in the game on a level or not.

A lot of the cut items are in the final game, but they're just vestigial remains at that point. If you give yourself them they appear either as weird looking psi-amps, or just peculiar white lines (the DTS proto does this) in the inventory and don't have a name or description anymore (DTS proto does at least still have its name). There's definitely an actual object in one level of the final game that's just a straight white line with no use or description - I just loaded one of my old saves and I had it.

Oh, also the map editor manual confirms it deliberately comes with a cut down version of the game. You're supposed to click on the 4 different player icons and it loads an old version of the game directly to the map you just made (this is what the "use map" option is for in the editor) with the number of players you chose for testing without going through all the regular game menus etc. I just can't get this to actually work.. The executable is also one used for the Amiga Format/Amiga Force previews with various rude and silly character classes included just for them. You too can play as a "P*** king"... I'll write this up further probably this evening.
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Old 16 September 2021, 20:25   #79
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Maybe "Ft Boost" means "Fortitude Boost" or something, like a leftover from the fantasy scenario. A sort of magic well that heals you or makes you stronger/more resilient
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Old 16 September 2021, 22:13   #80
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Just for fun, I quickly threw together some HUD weapon sprites for the Naomi IV AR and Grenade Launcher. It would be nice to see what kind of weapon a character is currently equipped with. Edit: Please disregard that they are not centered properly



On a side note, I started watching a playthrough of Hired Guns that is currently being released on Youtube, with commentary. Fairly enjoyable, especially since this is not a veteran HG player so we can share what kind of experience it is to play this game for someone who is unfamiliar with it's mechanics and items.


[ Show youtube player ]



.
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Last edited by Cherno; 16 September 2021 at 22:49.
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