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[furryclan]  |  Single player and online games  |  SWAT3  |  Topic: Finally!!!!! « previous next »
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Cpy-Ct
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Finally!!!!!
« on: 2010-06-21 19:54:25 »

I finally got a response from Sierra/Activision/Blizzard regarding the SWAT3 source code.

"we", "us" and "you" in this post means, "those who are interested".

The details of the email I recieved I cannot disclose, but I am able to disclose that the source code will NOT be handed over, instead, we have been offerred a swat3_22up_us.exe Patch (not an official patch), basically they will re-compile the EXE with updated SRC files to add the new features and modify existing values we have been otherwise sought out looking for ways to hack into the exe for. In simple terms(without getting myself in trouble and trashing the opportunity) we cannot be given the rights to use the source code, that would be illegal and they could get into a heap of trouble, but they have the rights to compile a swat3_22up_us.exe to address bugs and fixes to the game.

Anything we want to edit should be kept within in a day's work, may it take 2 hours, or 8 hours.
They have assigned one person to do the changes and re-compile the exe.

REASONS FOR PATCH
I have been asked to submit a few bugs and a few glitches to include in the PATCH. (don't ask me why)

Limited Time
I was told in the email, to be very carefull of what we ask for. We have 1 working day, and depending on the assigned Programmer's ability to do this task, it may not be possible to
make all the changes we want in the given time. I recommend we create a to-do-list as it pertains to what a "decent" programmer can accomplish in one working day, and in order of importance, for any future developments we have or have had in the past.

About Graphics
Please be warned we have ONE opportunity here, any changes to the rendering may require us to do some work on the textures. Also, it may only be possible to accept one rendering bit type and may not be compatible with all the current 24bit textures. (Explanation of modification NEEDED)

16bit to 24bit - this change will not cause problems, since the current textures are in 24bit bmp files.(citation NEEDED)

or
  
16bit to 32bit - it may not even be possible given the age of the game. In addition, may take longer to accomplish. (citation NEEDED)
this change will also require lots of work(from us), converting ALL textures.

SOME items to modify (not in any particular order)

TEXTURES
Allow up to 1024x1024 textures
Targa files size and rendering. (Explanation of modification NEEDED)
Decals - size and rendering. (Explanation of modification NEEDED)

CHARACTERS
New Character Classes
Adding - 2-3 new character classes. to allow different # of bones, This will require additional work (from us) to create the dat files for the new character classes
   including new animations. (Detailed stats, and Explanation of modification NEEDED)

Polygon count for character classes
 raise the Polygon count restrictions for each character class

ANIMATIONS
maybe add a few more animation possibities, such as prone and maylay attacks. increase animation limitations

MAP/MISSIONS
increase map polygon limits and light map limits.

GAME PLAY
Fix issue with the "handsup"

and any other modifications we would like to add, just try to keep the work load within an 8 hour limit.

It may be as simple as finding the correct SRC file and changing a value, on the other hand, one change could affect multiple SRC files and those files will have to be found and updated as well. If by chance there is a human error, they will treat it similar to [furrycat]'s take on it his GSMhacking tool, if there is a bug, he will fix.

USING THE NEW PATCH
Slippery_Jim has had success in creating a launcher that can turn on or off these features by choosing the correct EXE to launch, thus loading the correct RES files.
The game will most likely double in size and maps and mods will have to be redone.

NO DAT FILES WILL BE INCLUDED in the PATCH,  just an EXE.

NO-CD-Crack
As we all know the NO-CD-Crack was NOT distributed by Sierra, and will not be included in the PATCH.

LAST RESORT MOD
We should include the modifications within the Last Resort mod into the new PATCH.  If these modifications are included, then, After the release of the swat3_22up_us.exe patch, the Last Resort Mod v0.6 will be not compatible , instead the LRM mod should be tweaked to handle the new exe's and res files. A full description of these modifcations, including resolution changes to new 2d menus and 3d graphics, and Kneel2.0, and any weapon tweeks WILL BE NEEDED.

A NOTE TO ALL PROGRAMMERS
ALL of you PROGRAMMERS out there, this is your opportunity to SHINE, the more exact the explanation of modifications needed to the SRC files will help speed up the Programmer's ability to find and modify each of the tasks at hand for the new PATCH to be compiled.

CAN WE DO THIS?
Now the BiG question is, do we take this opportunity, and accept the responsiblity of making it work?
Another thing to ask yourself is, will you be willing to: set all negative thoughts aside, treat each other with respect, forget about all the
shit we talked amoungst ourselves and work in a TEAM environment to accomplish this?
Are we willing to set forth goals, create a MOD Team Roster, assign positions and tasks?
and....Are we prepared to choose a Project Manager?
« Last Edit: 2010-06-21 20:04:38 by Cpy-Ct » Logged
[furrycat]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #1 on: 2010-06-21 20:41:54 »

Without wishing to be a sourpuss I have my doubts as to what may actually be achieved with one man-day's worth of work.  We are talking about thirteen-year-old code which probably hasn't been looked at by anyone in eight years, written against obsolete libraries (WON, old DirectX) for obsolete hardware.  And we are looking at getting one guy who may or may not have even heard of the game let alone know anyone who may at any point have worked on it, familiarising himself with the codebase enough to implement feature requests he could well know nothing about.  Depending on how good the version control and build systems were, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that the dude could spend eight hours getting it to compile with no working changes at all, no matter how trivial they may sound.  As for us giving him exact instructions on what needs to be modified, we don't even know ourselves.  "Just add a character class" sounds pretty easy on paper doesn't it?  Now tell me in ten words of fewer what a character class is.

With the pessimism out of way I would suggest that you set very modest targets.

Primary target should be to have the guy spend eight hours stripping out any and all lines of code not written by Sierra and tossing them, not even stopping to see how it breaks, then checking and double checking until the buzzer goes and he's hauled off the project that there isn't a trace of other companies' stuff in there.  Then afterwards say "look this guy has removed all the third-party IP" and carry on pestering them to release the source.  Breaching some ancient NDA by distributing code they didn't write is what terrifies the legal department.  Strip it out and you have a chance.  This is your one and only opportunity to get this done.

Failing that your distant second target should be to spend some time with the latest unreleased code.  Dagnar (was that his name? the dude with the Everquest monster as his avatar) stated that they pretty much had a 2.2 patch done but had to stop work on it during testing and it was never released.  Get that working and you automatically get fixes to bugs we've all forgotten about.

Ater that look at the little things.  Supporting higher resolutions and colour depths is nice low-hanging fruit.  Maybe have the game just use your desktop resolution then you can do whatever you like.  But then you need to ensure the UI scales properly.  That in itself is a chunk of work.  Hardcoded limits is another nice idea you've suggested.  Perhaps the programmer could go through and look at unrealistic data structure sizes and #defines.  Number of polygons is a 16-bit unsigned int?  Make it 32-bit.  It won't in any way be elegant or pretty but it would in theory give you more leeway with your models.

Just be low key.  One guy spending one day on a decade-old project he's never seen before does not give you a lot of margin for error.  Unless you're lucky and they pull a dev who worked on the original code, of course...
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bar0n
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #2 on: 2010-06-21 21:04:17 »

I agree 100% with Furrycat.  There's no way this guy is going to get anything done in one day.  I just wonder if he does remove 3rd party code, is there a realistic chance that they would give us the code?
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[_PhoeniX_]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #3 on: 2010-06-22 15:14:49 »

What furry said.

One guy, 8 hours of work that we have to define without knowing him, his skill set, or his familiarity with the code.

And again, echoing [mao], the best thing would be to strip that which prevents us from using it, so we can improve the game on a more realistic time scale.
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[12:46] [DT], Drax: I enjoy hooking my little sister up with guys from across the country
[Don_T_Shoot]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #4 on: 2010-06-22 15:22:55 »

If this works, does this mean I'm going to have to finish the Hi-res Import Export Store map?
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[NorthStar]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #5 on: 2010-06-22 15:33:26 »

You may have to Import and/or Export it.
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[furrycat]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #6 on: 2010-06-22 15:38:50 »

You'll have to store it too.
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Slippery_Jim
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #7 on: 2010-06-22 16:26:20 »

Ater that look at the little things.  Supporting higher resolutions and colour depths is nice low-hanging fruit.  Maybe have the game just use your desktop resolution then you can do whatever you like.  But then you need to ensure the UI scales properly.  That in itself is a chunk of work.

For me having the game render in 32 bit colour would be fantastic.  This looks like a very easy fix since when DirectX is first called you tell it what resolution, colour depth you want.   24 bit colour isn't really used by modern video cards (many drivers don't give this option any more).   32 bit colour is what you want to request.    As Furry said the most ideal situation would be for the game to use the desktop's colour depth but it would be slightly more complicated to code I imagine.

IMHO it would be impossible to make the UI scale properly since it is so hard coded into the game and built mainly with Bitmap graphics.    Even getting the fonts of the command menu to enlarge is a horrible chore because some of it is also done with bitmap graphics.

As Furry said, you have to greatly limit your expectations.   Yes, getting the source code would be nice but Activision's lawyers would never, ever allow it.   It would be a shame to blow our one chance on the pipe dream of source code.   We could easily end up with nothing.  I think all we can expect from this is this 2.2 patch realistically.   Sure, the patch might create more bugs than we started with but who knows.


PS:  I hate to always be the cynic but I find this all hard to believe.  Activision has been very protective of IPs that are even older than Swat 3.   I find it hard to swallow that they would do this for us.   I will worship anyone who can make this happen but I am extremely skeptical.

http://www.bluesnews.com/s/107888/king_s-quest-fan-game-killed

The above link is about a fan game based on the King's Quest series.  They had an agreement with Vivendi to release their game but when Activision took over they shut them down after 8 years of development.   This is what Activision feels about fans and ancient IP's they own.
« Last Edit: 2010-06-22 16:55:49 by Slippery_Jim » Logged
AlienAbducter
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #8 on: 2010-06-22 16:40:37 »

Oh hey, fun!

I have no suggestions that i can think of, but I think furrycat's plan of having him sit through the thing and remove any 3rd party bits is the best way to go. If that was to work the benefits would largely outweigh anything he could possibly do in the circumstances. Even if it doesn't compile properly, I'd love to just have a look at the source. Bit of a childhood dream really. I had a very uneventful childhood yes.

I don't know what the 3rd party bits would be though. I guess it wouldn't be that hard to find. Maybe the code to play the videos? Probably the whole WON lobbies. Not that it would be a problem, the servers are long dead.

Either way, nice going. It sure pays to be annoying!

Also, Sierra is Blizzard now? When did that happen?
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Slippery_Jim
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #9 on: 2010-06-22 16:46:54 »

I don't know what the 3rd party bits would be though. I guess it wouldn't be that hard to find. Maybe the code to play the videos? Probably the whole WON lobbies. Not that it would be a problem, the servers are long dead.

Would have to be careful about the videos though.   The movies are called in several locations (ie at the end of some missions in Single Player).   Some medal movies.

As for ripping the Won Lobbies out...for some reason I get the impression that the LAN code is interconnected with the WON code.   I could be completely wrong though.   Ripping out the WON lobbies may also cripple the LAN multiplayer.
« Last Edit: 2010-06-22 17:02:47 by Slippery_Jim » Logged
Cpy-Ct
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #10 on: 2010-06-22 16:59:07 »

If this works, does this mean I'm going to have to finish the Hi-res Import Export Store map?

Completely up to you.

I'm trying to get the maps to load in WC to ease the workload (not an easy task) I can convert the maps to .obj. Need someone to open them up in 3ds max 2.5 and use the Half Life .map export plugin that was designed for this purpose. The ObjToMap.exe converter doesn't work properly. If we could get them loaded into hammer, we can then export rmf file.

By the way, If I open the .obj file in MAYA 6.0 the map is incredibly identical and intact.

PS:  I hate to always be the cynic but I find this all hard to believe.  Activision has been very protective of IPs that are even older than Swat 3.   I find it hard to swallow that they would do this for us.   I will worship anyone who can make this happen but I am extremely skeptical.

What I find hard to believe is can we come together and make this happen, it's not a one man task. Behind one man is a bright team
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[Don_T_Shoot]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #11 on: 2010-06-22 17:01:12 »


... Even if it doesn't compile properly, I'd love to just have a look at the source. Bit of a childhood dream really. I had a very uneventful childhood yes.

...

Either way, nice going. It sure pays to be annoying!


Two good LOLs in one post.
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[_PhoeniX_]
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #12 on: 2010-06-22 17:16:17 »

It sure pays to be annoying!

Sure does! I mean... he can almost maybe get us an intern to work 8 (okay, with today's productivity 2) hours on a 10 year old game that said intern doesn't have any experience with. Reaping the rewards of being obnoxious.
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Cpy-Ct
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #13 on: 2010-06-22 17:21:24 »

Would have to be careful about the videos though.   The movies are called in several locations (ie at the end of some missions in Single Player).   Some medal movies.

As for ripping the Won Lobbies out...for some reason I get the impression that the LAN code is interconnected with the WON code.   I could be completely wrong though.   Ripping out the WON lobbies may also cripple the LAN multiplayer.

Woah, is this a risk we are willing to take?
Very good point SJ, kinda puts a hold on the attempting to free the source code from ties.  

Sure does! I mean... he can almost maybe get us an intern to work 8 (okay, with today's productivity 2) hours on a 10 year old game that said intern doesn't have any experience with. Reaping the rewards of being obnoxious.
Probably an attempt from Activision to shut me up.
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Slippery_Jim
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Re: Finally!!!!!
« Reply #14 on: 2010-06-22 17:35:07 »

Sure does! I mean... he can almost maybe get us an intern to work 8 (okay, with today's productivity 2) hours on a 10 year old game that said intern doesn't have any experience with. Reaping the rewards of being obnoxious.

lol, just when I thought I was being the most cynical Phoenix comes along and beats me.   Grin
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