Petition for Carbonized Character Editor

AuthorTopic: Petition for Carbonized Character Editor
Infiltrator
Member # 5132
Profile Homepage #0
Many people, including myself, have made requests for a carbonized character editor for the carbonized BoE editor, scattered around the forum. It still does not exist.

I would like to say that it is necessary for a character editor to exist in BoE. There are a number of scenarios (some of mine included) that I (as well as any other carbonized BoE user) can't play, at least not legitimately. The Election, Emulations, Areni, and NTH are just a few examples. Plus, without a character editor, it's harder to leave a scenario if you're stuck because of a game bug.

I would make it myself, but I lack the skills and knowledge.

So please, to the people working on OBoE and such, carbonize the character editor!

Bain-Ihrno
Gauldoth Half-Dead
Celtic Minstrel

If you'd like to see a carbonized editor, sign this petition. Hopefully the people working on BoE will actually make one.

[ Wednesday, September 19, 2007 07:14: Message edited by: BainIhrno ]

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Posts: 626 | Registered: Monday, October 25 2004 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7557
Profile #1
The way to get a Carbonized character editor is to hack it to a floppy then stick it in the micro-wave for ten minutes (Or until the socket explodes)

Seriously though, I'll sign.

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Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #2
I second this!! Please carbonize the PC Editor!
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #3
I will sign too.

I still can't compile the thing; I couldn't even compile "itemdata.h". If you want an editor that can handle the custom items found in major scenarios, this could be done here and now by hex – editing. It might be possible to create a custom editor good for only one scenario, or one group of scenarios having the same list of custom items.

I will look into this and see what I can do, the basic idea is to:

take the item information from the scenario editor using a program like Hexplorer, as found at: http://hexplorer.sourceforge.net/
paste it into Word, change white spaces to tab stops
paste it into Excel, convert it into decimal numbers
change it to a format that the PC editor will accept
convert it back to hexadecimal
paste it into Word, change the tab stops to white spaces
and then paste it into the PC Editor using Hexplorer.

(Edit: this process is for the birds, I have devised a new one that does not require use of Word at all.)

If you want to rename the editor, when Line Width = 70, look at line 139, column 69 through line 140 column 20, inclusive.

Special items are way beyond this approach, they could be added by hex - editing the save file, something else I will have to look into.

[ Wednesday, April 30, 2008 15:14: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #4
Hex editing is all very well, but it would be easier in the long run to make a program to do it for you.

Oh, and this is about the Mac version, although it may also apply to the Windows version...

[ Wednesday, September 26, 2007 02:37: Message edited by: Celtic Minstrel ]
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #5
Special Items possessed by the party are listed on Line 644, Column 63 through Line 645, Column 42 of the save game file. Value 93 characters “]” signify 1 while value 92 characters “\” represent 0. This is different but it is the way that the save files are recorded. Everything is recorded in this topsy – turvy way, encryption feature?

(My methodology in finding this out was simple, in Shadow of the Stranger using special item 19 replaces it with item 20, and vice versa. So I made two save files, one with item 19 and one with item 20, then I compared them in the Edit command by hitting the F8 key, blink comparator style.)

As for making a program, you signed the petition because you can't do it, which is the same reason that I signed it. Until someone who knows about programming cares to write and compile a suitable program, it will be hex editing or nothing.

Edit: I was able to customize a PC Editor to handle the custom items from Shadow of the Stranger, using the method I outlined above.

While doing it I noticed another small flaw in the current editor, it has no provision for the Conceal Ability property of items.

[ Thursday, September 27, 2007 03:17: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #6
That could be a possible explanation for while Conceal Ability doesn't work... maybe there is no place for it in the save file........
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #7
I suspect that the Conceal Ability error is hard - coded. I had a look at line 410 of Global.h of the official source code, it says "item_record_type items[24];"
Now the Scenario Editor uses item_record_type while the Character Editor uses the short_item_record_type. You would need to dig through the entire BoE source code to see what the score is. (Line 410 is part of the pc_record data structure.)

I then added undesirable items to town 1 Bobling, of Wormwood, and the party picked them up when they entered the town. When the items were identified with a spell, every item displayed its concealed ability plainly.

[ Tuesday, October 02, 2007 17:14: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 73
Profile #8
I think Ormus fixed Conceal Ability in the Windows XP port.

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Posts: 2957 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #9
No, that was the version of Blades of Exile that I used to test the ability in town 1.

Presumably I will find the part of the source code that dictates the display of items, when I do I imagine that there will be no exceptions allowed for the Conceal Ability thing to work.
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #10
In the Windows version, the save game file starts with three flags, from line 112 of "Edfileio.cpp":
short flags[3][2] =
{{5790,1342}, // slot 0 ... 5790 - out 1342 - town
{100,200}, // slot 1 100 in scenario, 200 not in
{3422,5567}}; // slot 2 ... 3422 - no maps 5567 - maps

If anyone has any familiarity with Borland Turbo C++ they can try compiling the source code.

In the meantime, I think I have devised formulas in an Excel spreadsheet that will convert the item data found in the exs file into a format that can be pasted right into the Character Editor. I have to do quality control to make sure that I have made no obvious mistakes.

It is only good for one scenario, it is 5.45MB in its original form and is all of 1.1MB when zipped. It is only good for one group of scenarios having the same lists of items.

It is also made solely for the Windows PC Editor.

[ Friday, April 25, 2008 01:55: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #11
quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

It is also made solely for the Windows PC Editor.
Which, incidentally, is precisely what this thread is not about.
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #12
The situation with Windows PC Editor is exactly the same as for the Mac Editor. I will have to examine the Mac source code at my leisure.

Anyway I have just taken it for granted that the situation is the same for both Mac and Windows. A spreadsheet solution for the Windows version would presumably work for the Mac version, after you factored in the endianness.

A spreadsheet solution will leave all items with a Special Class of zero. It will remove any Conceal Ability property, which seems to be not functional anyway.

Edit:
PC Editor Problems coming from use of short_item_record_type:
· Special Class is igonored
· Wrong graphics translations for graphics numbered between 25 and 44.
· Conceal Ability is not handled at all, it is still not working in the real game.

It is possible to correct the first two errors by editing the save game file.

Ditto the graphics problem can be possibly fixed by assigning a custom graphic to an item. For example, picture 32 is a sword with a colored blade, normally this would be wrongly translated. However you could create a custom graphic using this picture. All custom item graphics have numbers of at least 150, so there will be no problem. The alteration will need to be done in the spreadsheet.

I have now devised an Excel spreadsheet that will enable you to paste in the scenario item records and turn them into a form that the Character Editor will accept. The item data can be saved as a file by itself then inserted into an editor as needed. Unfortunately it is only useful for Windows. (Edit: this is no longer the case I hope, though I can't test this.)
The link below won't just work, you will have to manually copy it and then paste it into your address bar, I don't know why.
http://www.freewebs.com/ishadnha/BoEPCEditorSpreadsheet.zip

I will need to alter this so it handles data coming from Mac scenarios, this fix is simple enough. (This has been done.)

[ Saturday, May 03, 2008 14:14: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #13
quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

The situation with Windows PC Editor is exactly the same as for the Mac Editor. I will have to examine the Mac source code at my leisure.
Well, it is similar, but I thought the precompiled Windows editor could actually run, whereas the same is not true for the Mac.

quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

A spreadsheet solution will leave all items with a Special Class of zero. It will remove any Conceal Ability property, which seems to be not functional anyway.
The Conceal Ability property is currently not functional, yes, but it is hoped that that can be fixed eventually.

quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

Ditto the graphics problem can be possibly fixed by assigning a custom graphic to an item. For example, picture 32 is a sword with a colored blade, normally this would be wrongly translated. However you could create a custom graphic using this picture. All custom item graphics have numbers of at least 150, so there will be no problem. The alteration will need to be done in the spreadsheet.
I believe items with custom graphics are lost when you enter a new scenario, so if that's the case than this solution won't quite work.
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #14
The PC Mac Editor does not even run?! Well, see my notes linked in the post on Editing Save Game Files. They can be adapted to the Mac game.

To leave a scenario you would need to alter the three flags at the start of the file, then the Special Items further on.

The Windows Editor runs, it just has a few errors and zero capacity for customization of items. It also has no capacity to handle special items or SDFs.

Conceal Ability, how about replace the tell tale text strings like "Drains Missiles" with white spaces? Hex editing the program should work here.

Edit: if you make a save file immediately after you exit a scenario, by winning for example, you will have a specimen save. When you examine the specimen you will know what to do when you want to exit a buggy scenario. For example, a save like that in Windows has only 72kb and ends immediately after the last PC record.

As for adding items to a Mac save, you could draw up a spreadsheet that creates the necessary item records, thus you can paste them into your save game. This will require decryption of the encoding of the file, fortunately this is straightforward.

Edit: Custom graphics, if the item with the custom graphic is still in your inventory after you leave the scenario, a bit of hex editing will be necessary: change the number to something between 25 and 44.

[ Monday, April 28, 2008 01:20: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #15
quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

The PC Mac Editor does not even run?!
Well, it depends on your computer. It can't run on the newer Intel ones, but it's fine (I assume) on the older PowerPC ones.

quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

Conceal Ability, how about replace the tell tale text strings like "Drains Missiles" with white spaces? Hex editing the program should work here.
...Wouldn't that make all items with that ability have it hidden? And they should be replaced with "???", to be consistent with Exile III.
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #16
Conceal Ability does not work, that means all abilities are concealed or none are, it is all or nothing.

As for cases where the Editor is not available, here are the three main flags, they occur in the first six places of the save game file:

Mac tags:
16 9E, 05 3E
00 64, 00 C8
0D 5E, 15 BF

Here is what they mean:
short flags[3][2] =
{{5790,1342}, // slot 0 5790 - out, 1342 - town
{100,200}, // slot 1 100 - in scenario, 200 not in
{3422,5567}}; // slot 2 3422 - no maps, 5567 - maps
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 73
Profile #17
I'm still not so sure about that. I'm pretty sure I've seen ??? item abilities in a few scenarios on Ormus's port. Are you sure you weren't using the latest version, which is buggy? I use the version before he rearranged the file structure. In this version, the scenarios still go in the BLADSCEN folder, among other things.

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My Myspace, with some of my art
The Lyceum - The Headquarters of the Blades designing community
The Louvre - The Blades of Avernum graphics database
BoE Webring - Self explanatory
They Might Be Giants - Four official websites for one of the greatest bands in existence
Posts: 2957 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #18
My Windows version was created on Friday July 20, according to the Properties tag.

Items given by the PC Editor will not have a Conceal Ability property, the conversion formula has no provision for this. The conversion formula is found on line 692 of source file “bladpced.cpp”;

[ Wednesday, April 30, 2008 15:27: Message edited by: Ishad Nha ]
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #19
quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

Conceal Ability does not work, that means all abilities are concealed or none are, it is all or nothing.
Which is why we want to fix it so that Conceal Ability does work.

And it's never worked. If Ormus fixed it temporarily, he never mentioned it.
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5576
Profile Homepage #20
Fear not, adherents of antiquated software, for I, Niemand, shall come to your rescue!

Ahem. That is to say, I'm working on the Character Editor for Mac OS. I now have it running, displaying its main window, and loading parties. Unfortunately, every button in the user interface turns into a "Done" button, and every sound is a system alert chime, but progress is being made.

Also, although I'm developing on 10.5, I think I should end up with a product which with be backwards compatible as far as 10.3.9.

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Posts: 627 | Registered: Monday, March 7 2005 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7662
Profile #21
In the matter of items, all the problems come from the "short_item_record_type". I don't know why it exists, only the PC Editor seems to use it.

If you can open both the scenario file and the save game in the Editor you will be able to give a customized item list for every scenario.

Now if anyone can modernize this thing for Windows...
Posts: 292 | Registered: Monday, November 13 2006 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 9013
Profile #22
AFAICT, nobody's maintaining OBoEx32 right now.

(If you have the time and the skill, feel free...)
Posts: 43 | Registered: Tuesday, June 19 2007 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10488
Profile #23
quote:
Originally written by Ishad Nha:

In the matter of items, all the problems come from the "short_item_record_type". I don't know why it exists, only the PC Editor seems to use it.
It would probably be a good idea to modify the PC Editor to use the other item type record. Maybe the short item type record is a relic from earlier games?
Posts: 334 | Registered: Friday, September 14 2007 07:00